VIDEO: Man Crushed to Death by Malfunctioning Elevator

A man inside an elevator was crushed to death when it fell into the shaft below on Thursday morning in New York City.

Surveillance video shows the terrifying moment Sam Waisbren, 30, reached out of the open door to pull himself to safety as the lift kept falling.

Tragically, Waisbren was crushed between the elevator car and the shaft wall, authorities said.

A building worker who witnessed the event and said, “The guy literally was trying to climb out onto the floor while the elevator was still [moving down]. It’s awful.”

The incident occurred inside the 23-story Manhattan Promenade tower on Third Avenue near East 25th Street.

Six people were on the elevator when it malfunctioned and five remained inside the car after it fell. However, no other injuries were reported.

New York City Fire Department Chief Anthony Arpaia said emergency crews had difficulty moving the lift.

“Some people were still left down in the car after it moved down in the basement,” he commented. “The FDNY had to work really hard to get the car moved.”

In May, the New York City Department of Buildings fined the building almost $1,300 after inspectors discovered that one of the two elevators’ safety features had been tampered with or turned off.

Authorities then ordered the building to stop using the elevator in question until the problem had been remedied. However, the building’s tenants told reporters on Thursday that they were not informed about the elevator and were still using it the day before the tragedy occurred.

Investigators said Waisbren had been inside the second elevator and not the one subject to the fine, according to reports.

Tenant Dayna Sargen, who lives on the eighth floor of the building with her husband and children, said she cried all morning after the young man was killed.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable putting my kids in an elevator here again,” she commented. “The elevators are constantly breaking down; there are very, very frequent maintenance issues with the elevator.”

The city’s Department of Buildings said in a statement that it is “investigating this incident aggressively and will take all appropriate enforcement actions,” adding that “we’re determined to find out what went wrong at this building and seek ways to prevent incidents like this.”


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