22 People Hurt as New York City Elevator Falls 3 Floors and Crashes

May 18, 2011

Nearly two dozen people are injured but lucky to be alive after an elevator malfunction caused the car to plunge three stories.

The incident occurred about 7:00 am this morning at 620 6th Avenue between 18th and 19th Street in the building where Bed, Bath and Beyond is located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Twenty-two construction workers bound for work on the fourth floor boarded the freight elevator and it began moving upward. However, when it got between the third and fourth floors, the elevator crashed back down the shaft and into the basement.

WABC TV New York reports that emergency services transported all the workers to Bellevue Hospital Center. FDNY Deputy Chief Jackie Sullivan told the news station that all twenty-two construction workers sustained injures, including nine who required immobilization.

When the workers boarded the elevator this morning, they probably never expected it would drop like an amusement park ride and leave them injured.

“It was, you know, a free-fall from Great Adventure to be honest. If you ever go on that ride that’s what it was. We didn’t know when it was gonna stop,” a passenger in the elevator told CBS New York. “People got hurt. It was a hard landing.”

An inspection by the NYC Buildings Department found that the cause of the crash was a defective elevator brake and that it was illegal to use the freight elevator for carrying passengers, says a WABC TV New York article.