Woman dies after falling down lift shaft at party in Istanbul

A NEW Zealand woman on holiday has died after reportedly falling when a makeshift bridge collapsed at an Istanbul hotel during a dance party.

Turkish media this morning reported that Keshia Handa, 31, died after attending a salsa party on Saturday.

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) said it was aware of "the tragic death of a New Zealander" in the Turkish city.

"The New Zealand Embassy in Ankara is providing consular support to the next of kin," Mfat said in a statement.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time."

It's believed Ms Handa, who loved Latin dance, had been living in Queensland and her family were now in Istanbul.

Ms Handa was at the Grand Hotel de Londres on the night she died, according to Turkish media.

She travelled the world to take part in dance parties, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"Handa and two friends arrived in Istanbul on September 16 and checked into a hotel in Istanbul's Asmalimescit neighbourhood in Beyoglu to attend a dance party at the same hotel," the newspaper added.

On Saturday, Ms Handa was with about 200 other people on the hotel rooftop.

"The accident occurred as Handa moved away from the centre stage to get some fresh air," Hurriyet Daily News said.

She apparently stepped on a grate placed between the hotel roof and an adjacent apartment to create a makeshift bridge.

But the grate broke when Ms Handa stepped on it, and she reportedly fell about 10m.

Police and firefighters attended but Ms Handa did not survive the fall.

Hurriyet Daily News said police conducted a crime scene investigation.

A staff member at Grand Hotel de Londres, where the accident reportedly happened, said he saw no police at the hotel this morning New Zealand time but declined to comment further.

Hotel owner Ibrahim Huzmeli told BGN News hotel staff were greatly saddened after the accident.

BGN News said an official investigation was still underway.

Ms Handa's body was initially taken to the local Forensic Medicine Institute but she was expected to be repatriated to New Zealand soon, Turkish media reported.

The website said Ms Handa arrived from Australia the previous week for a vacation.

In 2007, Ms Handa was in a Gujarati play at Auckland Centennial Theatre.


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