A 44-year old Indian man delivering liquid propane gas died Tuesday, November 5, 2013, around 12:30 p.m. local time, when he was fatally crushed by an elevator in an apartment building in Devara Jeevana Halli, Bangalore, India. According to early reports, the man had completed his delivery on the ground floor, and was on his way to the building’s first floor to collect payment. When he registered a hall call, the elevator doors apparently opened without the cab present. The victim apparently stepped through the opening, falling into the pit, where he was then crushed when the elevator descended seconds later to answer his hall call. Witnesses stated that they observed a significant amount of blood and were only able to see the victim’s hands, and used crowbars in an attempt to lift the cab off the victim. Local police are investigating the circumstances of the accident and had not yet released a formal statement, but noted that it appeared to be a malfunction and not foul play. The official statement also noted that they would investigate whether the elevator manufacturer, Lenzi Elevators India, was criminally negligent.
Typically, modern passenger elevators in the United States use a combination of an elevator car door and hoistway doors at each floor. A door operator mounted on top of the elevator car then opens the hoistway doors when the cab arrives. In such an arrangement, the hoistway doors will remain closed until the cab is lined up with that floor, allowing the door operator to open the hoistway door, which should never open to an empty shaft. However, even in the United States, there are often freight elevator door arrangements in which each floor has an independent door operator. In that case, a malfunction could potentially lead to an open shaft. In this case, it is not clear what the circumstances were. However, in India, “swing door” arrangements that resemble a typical building door are still relatively common, so it is also possible that this case involved a swing door with an independent hoistway door operator. We will update this story if additional information becomes available.
Sources reporting this story include: