Top 10 Horrific Elevator Tragedies

We utilize the elevator 19 billion times a year. Elevators, are one of, if not the, safest means of human transportation. When you stop to think about it, how many times have you taken an elevator? Probably thousands of times and if you work or live in a high rise building, probably millions of times.

Sadly, accidents do occur. Some of them could have been prevented, especially the ones which occurred because of horseplay. This list examines top 10 horrific elevator tragedies that will have your heart skip.


1. Suzanne Hart:

Hart was a midtown Manhattan office dweller who was crushed to death due to an elevator malfunction. Other elevator occupants, unable to do anything, looked on as the tragedy struck. Interestingly enough, an unlicensed repairman serviced the elevator hours before the incident.


Hart’s family has since sued the repair company. The suit was filed by Suzanne Hart’s father, Alex Hart, against Transel Elevator and Electric. It alleges that Transel caused her death because it failed to re-enable a safety circuit and disconnect a cable that bypassed the circuit.


2. Clyde Ortiz:

Elevator Accident

A Washington Heights man was killed when he fell down an apartment building elevator shaft. The death sparked an investigation of possible building code violations that may have played a role in the accident.

Witnesses said the man, Clyde Ortiz, 22, had been rough-housing with three friends on the sixth floor of the apartment building, at 3609 Broadway in Hamilton Heights, when he fell down the elevator shaft.

Mr. Ortiz was taken to Harlem Hospital Center, where he was declared dead shortly after the accident.


3. Doloris Gillespie:

In 2011, this senior entered an elevator in her building. A man proceeded after her and sprayed her with flammable liquid. After spraying flammable liquid on Gillespie, he set her on fire. The motive for the actions was $2000 Gillespie owed the suspect.


4. Brent McEnroe & Roy Powell:

In February of 2011, two construction workers died after falling down a broken elevator shaft in West Side New York. The cause of the accident was a beam which rolled out of place. Both workers lost their balance and plummeted 65 feet.


5. Gloria Rodriguez:

Rodriguez worked at the Crockett Hotel in downtown San Antonio for 12 years. On December 30, 2011, she fell 6 stories down the service elevator shaft. The hotel manager was uncooperative and refused to explain the origins of the incident.


6. Sherwood & Caroline Wadsworth:

When the elevator in their home got stuck between floors, Sherwood and Caroline Wadsworth found themselves trapped with no way to call for help as temperatures rose into the 90s. They finally died from heat exhaustion in the closet-sized lift.

Autopsies on the elderly couple – he was 90, she was 89 – pointed to a tragic end to lives they shared for more than 60 years. Experts estimate that they had been dead for at least four days before a newspaper carrier called 911 out of concern that papers had piled up by their garage door.

Investigators were trying to determine what turned an elevator into a death trap inside the Wadsworths’  home, which overlooks Georgia’s coastal marshes.


7. Wilfred Gingrich:

This 11 year old sustained serious head injuries and died in Hamilton, Ontario hospital after a makeshift elevator accident at the Winroe Gardens Country Market. The probable cause was a mast from an old forklift.


8. James Neely:

On April 13, 2006, Neely stuck his head into the door opening of an elevator when an elevator operator was bringing down the car. Neely was struck and killed instantly.

Other employees who were working with Mr. Neely did not witness the accident. In addition to police, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration were called in to investigate.


9. Minato Ward:

The 2006 accident occurred in Minato, Tokyo. A 16 year old high school student was killed by an elevator as he was backing out of it with his bicycle. The elevator rose suddenly with the doors open. This caused asphyxiation.


10. Natasha Hopkins:


A 5 year old girl was crushed by an elevator at a west side women’s shelter. She was on the third floor of Bethel New Life Centre at the time. She was caught between a metal gate.


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One Response

  1. Shaun

    There is breach of adequate safety for elevator technicians. Corporate companies do not give workers adequate safety training and arrangements. Most of them are overworked, work alone and risk themselves and the public with their careless and shoddy work. Quarterly safety checks are rush along, just to complete the paperwork.


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