HIGH drama unfolded at Fisherman's Walk cliff lift when 17 holidaymakers became trapped in a carriage.

Thankfully nobody was hurt and spirits were high among the hapless prisoners as they exchanged jokes while waiting for emergency services.

The 17 were trapped in the lift a few feet above the promenade level for around 30 minutes in 1983 before firemen rescued them with ladders.

One of the passengers, a young lady in a wheelchair, was taken out of her chair by a fireman and lowered to safety.

"We had no idea what was going on. The lift brakes suddenly went on half way down the cliff and we stopped," said Mr Atkinson, speaking from the beach at Southbourne.

"We couldn't see any firemen so we started joking about where they had got to."

Bournemouth Echo: Southbourne lift drama in 1983.

A Yorkshire family trapped in the lift kept up a stream of jokes to calm their fellow holidaymakers.

Madge Atkinson on holiday with her family of four said they treated the 30-minute ordeal lightly until firemen arrived to rescue them with ladders.

"I thought it was funny because when we eventually got out, we were asked for our lift tickets."

Bournemouth Echo: Southbourne lift drama in 1983.

Engineers investigated and the lift was closed for a short time.

Firemen freed the holidaymakers by putting a ladder to the side of the lift and helping the holidaymakers down.

But the unlucky passengers didn't let the incident spoil their fun as it wasn't long before they were enjoying their first swim.