San Francisco, CA – Man fatally crushed in BART elevator shaft

According to the Huffington Post, a man was crushed by an elevator in San Francisco’s BART subway station on Monday, March 11, 2013. The circumstances surrounding the incident remain somewhat unclear, but the report indicates that a passenger boarded the elevator and registered a cab call in the up direction before hearing “a crunching sound and a man yelp.” The elevator then stopped with that passenger entrapped. The entrapped passenger called for help, and after being successfully rescued, authorities searched the hoistway and found the victim, who was immediately pronounced dead.

Strangely, BART Police Lieutenant John Conneely indicated that “the man may have been sleeping atop the elevator” but that it was unclear how he entered the hoistway or how long he had been inside. Conneely also indicated that personal belongings were found on the car top, but it was not certain that they belonged to the victim. Read the full story published March 11, 2013.

It is unclear if the elevator had a manually operable “run/stop” switch, however, it is unlikely that it would have made a difference in this case, since the only indication that an accident had occurred was when the entrapped passenger heard the victim being crushed.

This highly unusual incident demonstrates that an elevator hoistway is perhaps the most dangerous place a person can be. No one should ever enter the hoistway besides elevator personnel and emergency personnel that have been trained to safely access these spaces. Also in this case, the entrapped passenger responded correctly by waiting for help.

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