A 30-year-old man was crushed to death in New York as the lift he was trying to exit suddenly dropped.
The incident took place yesterday morning (August 22), when Sam Waisbren was in the lift of the 23-story Manhattan Promenade tower in New York City with a number of other passengers.
The elevator doors opened into the lobby and one man stepped out into the room, however the lift gave way as Sam went to exit.
According to the New York Post, a building worker who witnessed the scene said Sam instinctively put his arm out in an attempt to get off. He tried to plant one of his legs on the lobby floor but as the lift continued to drop he got crushed between the floor and the moving elevator.
The lift carried on to fall to the basement of the building, leaving a group of people trapped inside.
FDNY Deputy Chief Anthony Arpaia said:
Some people were still left down in the car after it moved down in the basement. The FDNY had to work really hard to get the car moved.
First responders pronounced Sam dead at the scene.
The New York Times report there had been a number of issues with the building’s two elevators in the past. While the city’s Department of Buildings (D.O.B) said the elevator Sam was on had not been the subject of any formal complaints over the past decade, the building’s other lift was shut down over safety issues months ago.
In a statement about the incident, Abigail Kunitz, a spokeswoman at the Department of Buildings, said:
D.O.B. is investigating this incident aggressively and will take all appropriate enforcement actions.
One of the building’s residents, named Alex, said the elevators were prone to malfunction and would often jolt around while people were inside.
We saw the warning signs. The thing breaks all the time. It’s pretty bad.
Another resident, Peter Sargen, said he had been riding in one of the elevators within the last few days and felt it ‘wobbling’ so much he reported it to the building’s staff.
Yesterday’s incident was caught on the Manhattan Promenade’s CCTV, however we have chosen not to include the video due to its sensitive nature.
Sam’s father, Charles Waisbren, said in an interview his son had regularly complained about the elevators:
It was a point of constant consternation. It’s such an expensive apartment building, they can at least provide a safe environment and instead they killed my son.
The father described his son as ‘a classic story of a Midwest boy seeking fame and fortune in New York’, adding he ‘had his whole life ahead of him.’
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.