A university is investigating after three students were stuck in a lift for nearly SEVEN hours overnight - and were handed freezer bags to go to relieve themselves with.
The students, aged between 16 and 17 years old, attend Inverness College UHI, run by the University of the Highlands and Islands.
They were stuck in the elevator at the student halls in the city's Castlehill area from 11.25pm on November 22 to 5.47am the following day.
Emergency services were alerted at 12.25am, an hour after students Benjamin Adams, Cameron Macrae and Isabelle Gallacher first raised the alarm.
But it is understood management from Cityheart Living, who operate the accommodation, were reluctant to allow the fire brigade to use rescue equipment to free the students - to prevent the lift from damage.
In a joint statement, the students said: "We could have died with the time it took for them to get us out of the lift.
"The lift is very small and we weren't able to stretch our legs. It was good there was only three people inside it.
"If there had been more, it would have made it even more uncomfortable than it already was.
"Had there been five or more in the lift, standing for six-and-a-half hours would have been unbearable.
"One of the staff from Cityheart handed through freezer bags for the three of us to relieve ourselves.
"The fire brigade, not having any success with the options they had tried previously, asked permission from Cityheart to cut the lift open to get us out.
"We were then told that Cityheart had said they were going to try and source a lift technician to come out, as it would be too expensive to repair the lift if the fire brigade were to cut or damage it in any form.
"None of us will probably be using lifts in the near future unless we have to."
The University of the Highlands and Islands has acknowledged it was an 'unpleasant' experience for the students, and launched an investigation.
But Alan Simpson, president of the Highlands and Islands Students' Association (HISA), said what happened was 'completely unacceptable'.
Mr Simpson said: "The situation that occurred at the CityHeart Living Inverness student residence is completely unacceptable and now, action must be taken to ensure the safety of our students is put first at all times.
"We hope that the university's investigation of the incident will ensure all health and safety procedures are reviewed."
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) confirmed they remained with the site manager until contact was made with the lift engineer more than 100 miles away in Aberdeen.
It is understood they stood down at 2.48am, before the engineer arrived.
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "We were alerted at 12.25am on Saturday, November 23 to reports of persons trapped within a lift in Inverness.
"Operations Control mobilised one fire appliance to the city's Castlehill.
"Following dialogue with the persons trapped and the sharing of intelligence with the building's keyholder and an engineer, the decision was made for crews to stand down.
"Firefighters thereafter left the scene."
A University of the Highlands and Islands spokesman said: "The safety and wellbeing of our students is our number one concern.
"We recognise this must have been an unpleasant experience and we have met with the students involved to discuss this.
"The university is now conducting a full investigation into this incident on Saturday."
Cityheart Living has been approached for comment.