11/24/2010 12:37 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Paris Grandmother Trapped For 3 Weeks In Toilet Before Being Rescued

A 69-year-old French grandmother was trapped in her bathroom for three weeks before finally being rescued Friday, the BBC is reporting.

According to authorities, the woman got stuck in the windowless bathroom of her Paris apartment when the lock on the door broke. With no access to a telephone, the woman tried banging on pipes to alert neighbors, who assumed the noises were caused by workmen and even prepped a petition asking them to stop, MSNBC reports.

"You could hear banging sounds, like a hammer, even at night," one neighbor is quoted by the BBC as saying. "But we thought they were doing work at night. We said: 'They are going too far! They are preventing us from sleeping!' If we had known....'"

The elderly woman was finally freed last Friday after a neighbor noticed she had not picked up her mail in weeks and contacted police. She reportedly appeared in a weakened state and had been surviving only on warm tap water.