Hero Dies Saving Woman From Falling Lift, Wished Her A ‘Happy New Year’


A man saved a woman from a falling lift, saying ‘Happy New Year’ as he shoved her to safety before being fatally crushed.

Stephen Hewett-Brown was trying to escape a stalled elevator in an apartment building in Manhattan at around 11.30pm yesterday when disaster struck.

Stephen Yang

Speaking to New York Daily News, witness Manuel Coronado said Hewett-Brown pushed out resident Erude Sanchez, 43, before it fell down the shaft taking him with it.

He said:

She started going in, but the elevator started going down and he pushed her out. He said ‘Happy New Year’ and pushed her out. I tried to help the guy, but he was between the elevator and the building door. He was saying ‘I can’t breathe.’ I tried to pull him up, but he said ‘Leave me here, leave me here.’

Richard Harbus/New York Daily News

The New York Daily News reported that it was only sheer chance that Hewett-Brown was even in the elevator to come to Sanchez’s rescue. He didn’t live in the 26-storey building and had just come to Bronx to attend a New Year’s Eve bash.

Coronado added that he and other residents frantically dialled 911, but help didn’t come for 20 to 30 minutes. The young hero was rushed to New York Hospital in ‘traumatic arrest’ at 11.54pm, a fire service spokesman said, but tragically, he could not be saved.


Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this difficult time.