Man crushed to death by lift in Manhattan building recently fined over elevator safety

Lily Puckett
Twitter/FDNY

A man in New York was crushed to death by a lift in a building that had recently been fined for unsafe elevator conditions.

Firefighters found the 30-year-old, whose name has not been released, trapped in part of the lift, which was stuck between the ground floor and the basement, according to a Fire Department spokesperson. The man was pronounced dead on the scene.

Three people were successfully rescued and appear uninjured, the spokesperson added.

The 23-storey building, called the Manhattan Promenade, had been fined by New York’s Department of Buildings in May for nearly $1,300. Inspectors had found that a safety feature had been disabled or tampered with on one of the building’s two lifts.

The Manhattan Promenade was ordered to stop using the lift until the problem was fixed, but tenants told the New York Times that the building had continued to use it. They said they were not aware of the tamped with safety feature, but that one elevator was shut down for a different problem on Wednesday.

“D.O.B. is investigating this incident aggressively and will take all appropriate enforcement actions,” Abigail Kunitz, a spokeswoman at the Department of Buildings, said in a statement. “Elevators are the safest form of travel in New York due to the city’s stringent inspection and safety requirements. We’re determined to find out what went wrong at this building and seek ways to prevent incidents like this in the future.”

Tenants told the New York Times that the building’s lifts were both a constant hazard.

New York has over 70,000 elevators, but fatal accidents are rare. A 44-year-old advertising executive was killed in 2011 after becoming pinned between a lift and a wall in a Manhattan office building in 2011. Most recently, a 25-year-old was crushed to death by a lift, also in Manhattan, in 2016.