Man accidentally locked inside UBS vault in Zurich

Man accidentally locked inside UBS vault in Zurich

When it comes to the scariest places to be locked in, a vault in a bank, with its thick walls and impenetrable security doors, has to be up there. This week, one unfortunate soul got a chance to briefly live out that horror, after being accidentally locked in a bank vault at UBS in Zurich.

Swiss hotelier locked in Zurich bank vault

On November 7, Naveen Jerith, a hotelier and entrepreneur based in Lugano, visited the UBS branch in Bellevue in the centre of Zurich to try and get something from his safety deposit box. “I have a locker in the safe, and around 4pm, I took the elevator to the lower floor,” he told 20 Minuten.

After spending 30 minutes in the vault, Jerith turned to leave, only to find that the vault had been locked. “They simply forgot about me… I had no [mobile phone] network in the bunker and the UBS emergency phone didn’t work either,” he noted.

Desperate, Jerith resorted to making loud noises to try and attract attention. At that point, he said that he was resigned to spending the night in the vault. “I was a little panicked because I didn't have any food with me. Luckily it had a toilet and therefore also water",  he explained.

Zurich police summoned to free trapped bank patron

Luckily, instead of spending a night among copious amounts of valuables, he noticed that there was an emergency button. 15 minutes after pressing it, two fully armed members of the Swiss police showed up, who proceeded to check what he was doing down in the vault. After checking his ID and his intentions, and concluding that he was not in fact the worst bank robber in history, police and members of staff released him, with one UBS employee apologising for the mistake.

Speaking to 20 Minuten, UBS spokesperson Cécile Rietschi said that they had closed the vault in line with working hours without realising there was someone still in there. “We regret the incident and have apologised to the person affected,” she said. “It seems to be easier to get into a safe than to get out of it,” Jerith joked.

Thumb image credit: Michael Derrer Fuchs /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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