According to ABC 7 Eyewitness News New York, Joseph Ryan, a 35 year-old man died around 11 p.m. Monday after plunging two stories down a freight elevator shaft in an apartment building located on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. The man was moving into a new apartment and was apparently walking backwards and carrying a mattress at the lobby level when the incident occurred. The man fell down to the basement level and suffered injuries that he succumbed to after being transported to nearby St. Barnabas Hospital. Early accounts of the accident described that the door was open but the elevator was not at the floor at the time the incident occurred. Tenants in the building noted that the freight elevator was shut down every night and that only building maintenance workers and security guards had access to the elevator.
Interestingly, the article noted that although the victim was not working at the time, he worked for a private elevator contractor during the day. The New York City Department of Buildings investigated the accident and determined that the victim had apparently used a drop key to open the hoistway door and gain access to the elevator for at least one prior trip on the elevator. The Department of Buildings also issued a violation for an apparently malfunctioning mechanical door interlock on the incident elevator. The Eyewitness News report also noted that the Department of Buildings had received a number of tenant complaints about the elevators prior to the incident including one that noted “no one uses [the elevator because] they are afraid.”
Read the full story by ABC 7 New York, published March 2, 2010, or watch the videos below.