New Yorker is crushed to death by falling elevator
A New York man has lost his life after he was crushed to death by a falling elevator in his luxury high-rise as his horrified neighbors looked on, the New York Post has reported.
On Thursday morning, Sam Waisbren, 30, became trapped between a malfunctioning elevator car and the shaft wall, subsequently crushing him to death. Security footage from the lobby shows the moment Waisbren desperately tried to claw his way to safety, as the packed car plunges into the darkness of the shaft below.
The footage shows several witnesses looking away in horror as Waisbren disappeared beneath the car.
Per the Post, a building worker who witnessed the incident said: "The guy literally was trying to climb out onto the floor while the elevator was still [moving down]. It’s awful."
The nightmare scene occurred just after 8:15 am at the 23-story Manhattan Promenade tower on Third Avenue near East 25th Street.
Security footage shows one woman standing outside of the elevator, waiting for the doors to open. When they do, a man wearing a backpack steps out, as the wheels around as the car give way, and Waisbren is swallowed by the shaft. The car can then be seen falling into the shaft, with five other people inside.
Waisbren can be seen putting out his right hand in an attempt to grab the frame of the door and plant his right leg onto a section of the lobby floor - but he is immediately overpowered by the weight of the car.
The same worker said: "His initial reaction was to put his arm out [...] so he could get off. At that point, the elevator took him down. Jumping out [of] the car while it’s still moving, you just don’t want to do it."
Waisbren was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.
Charles Waisbren, Sam's father, said: "He was a wonderful young man. We are absolutely devastated."
His dad added that his son had moved from their family home outside Milwaukee to settle down in New York City, where he worked in software sales. Charles said: "He had millions of friends out in New York. He was loved by everybody."
When firefighters arrived, they raced to rescue the five people who remained trapped inside the fallen elevator car.
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."
After researching the elevator in question, the NY Department of Buildings revealed that the lift had not been the subject of any formal complaints over the past decade. The building's second elevator was shut down over safety issues a few months prior.
Rockland County-based consultant Kevin Doherty - who has testified in hundreds of elevator cases - has since reviewed the security footage several times in an attempt t0 analyze what exactly malfunctioned. Per the NY Post, he said:
"Elevator controllers/computers are designed to prevent motion of the elevator when either the inside car door or the outside hoistway door is in the open position.
"In order for this event to occur, you would have to have a number of mechanical and electrical failures occur simultaneously, barring human intervention."
Doherty added that the chances of an incident like this happening were "almost incalculable".
Reviewing the footage, Doherty also noted that the man who was able to escape the elevator prior to Sam being pulled down by the car "has no idea how lucky he is".