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  • Chicago.

  • November 16, 2018.

  • Six people are on the 95th floor of the 875 North Michigan Avenue building.

  • They're all in good spirits, having just eaten in the restaurant at the top of the

  • building, a place that affords some fantastic views of the city.

  • The doors close.

  • A pregnant woman looks at her husband with concern as the elevator begins its descent.

  • It's making a weird clicking sound.

  • The other occupants now also look a bit worried.

  • The next thing they hear is a loud snap.

  • The elevator goes into free fall.

  • Everyone is screaming as it plunges into the abyss.

  • One man is praying as he holds on to a crying stranger.

  • That viewers, is a true story, but we aren't going to tell you how it ended just yet.

  • Instead, we're going to describe to you in gruesome detail other elevator accidents

  • so you can make an educated guess as to what happened to those six ill-fated diners.

  • The elevator in that case went into freefall, which is perhaps the most nightmarish thing

  • that can happen in one of those metal boxes.

  • Nonetheless, as you'll now see, there are many other ways to die in an elevator.

  • We'll start with something we imagine none of you would ever think could happen.

  • That is, starving to death in an elevator, like something from an apocalyptic Hollywood

  • movie.

  • It happened in 2016 to a woman in her 40s in the city of Xi'an, China.

  • Just after celebrations for the Chinese New Year had ended, some elevator maintenance

  • guys were back at work at an apartment building.

  • No sooner than their shift had started they smelled something nasty emanating from one

  • of the elevators.

  • They opened the door and what greeted them was the decomposing body of a woman.

  • She wasn't looking too good since she'd been stuck in there a month.

  • How the hell did this happen?

  • Well, reports said that maintenance workers had turned the elevator off before the holidays.

  • They'd been told to check if anyone was inside, but all they did was shout, “Is

  • anyone in here?”

  • Either the woman shouted back, and the guys couldn't hear her, or she didn't hear

  • the call.

  • You can only imagine how she felt after an hour or two.

  • But imagine how she felt after a day, two days, three days.

  • She likely died after that from dehydration.

  • But before she did, she fought for her life.

  • When she was found her hands were mangled from trying to pry open the doors.

  • Her family reported her missing, but it seems not much was done about it.

  • It also seems others in the large apartment complex didn't hear the woman's screams.

  • One of them later said, “There's now a shadow across my heart.

  • It's scary, and it gives me shivers to pass by.”

  • The death caused public outrage.

  • One person was charged with negligent homicide.

  • If that's not a worst way to die, we don't know what is.

  • Now we'll focus on something a little more grisly.

  • It involved the death of a teacher in the USA, an accident described by the press as

  • horrifying.”

  • The victim was a 38-year teacher at Boston University.

  • There were witnesses, too, with one of them describing in detail what she saw and heard.

  • It wasn't a cry.

  • I can't even describe what it was,” she said about the sound the victim made before

  • her life ended.

  • She'd been moving boxes into the elevator, but the thing was, once something was inside,

  • it would trigger a sensor, and the elevator would start to move.

  • It must have thought the box was a passenger, and that's why it began to ascend.

  • As it began to move though, the woman was only halfway in the elevator.

  • She was trapped and crushed by the unstoppable force of the machine.

  • When people die in elevators, this is one of the major reasons.

  • In 2019, a man went almost the same way in New York, although in this case, the elevator

  • suddenly dropped as he was stepping inside.

  • He didn't have a chance.

  • Soon after, spokespeople for the safety of elevators came out and said such accidents

  • are very rare.

  • The media talked about how bathtubs are more dangerous and how elevators are one of the

  • safest forms of travel.

  • About 25 to 30 people a year die in them in the US, but most of the deaths happen when

  • people are fixing them.

  • Still, the deaths are usually so gory they're hard to forget.

  • Take for instance the death of Dr. Hitoshi Nikaidoh in 2003, which wouldn't have looked

  • out of place in the Final Destination movie franchise.

  • One day he was working on the second floor of a building at the Christus St. Joseph Hospital

  • in Houston.

  • He was a surgical assistant just going about his day.

  • He was getting in the elevator when the doors closed, which trapped him by the shoulders.

  • The elevator then started going up, to the sounds of screaming onlookers.

  • What they saw was the doctor losing his head from above the jawline.

  • One of those witnesses actually filed a lawsuit after claiming she had post-traumatic stress

  • disorder.

  • We actually found a few stories of people losing their heads in elevator accidents.

  • The oldest one we could find happened in New York City to a 15-year old boy.

  • A headline in the New York Times on December 15, 1883, read, “Decapitated by an Elevator.”

  • The author of the story didn't mince his words.

  • He wrote: “Emil Mueller, age 15, was caught and instantly

  • killed this evening in the elevator at Lincoln's furniture warehouse.

  • He was found dead with his head lying in a box which he took up with him.”

  • We guess the Tiimes didn't pay its copy editors much back then.

  • At least his death was likely painless, seeing as he died before he had time to think about

  • anything, although, as we've stated before, there is a chance people remain conscious

  • for a while after decapitation.

  • An Australian former politician wasn't so lucky in 1973.

  • His name was Dugald Munro.

  • He was 43-years old when he got into an escalator in a Bridge Street building in Sydney.

  • A newspaper article said the escalator, or lift as Australians say, just started moving

  • when he was only partway inside.

  • Maybe the elevator wasn't so powerful this time, because he didn't die instantly.

  • He was crushed, while his brother and some other people tried their hardest to pull him

  • out.

  • It was impossible, and the man died from crushing injuries.

  • We don't have to tell you just how traumatic this is while the victim is still conscious.

  • Crushing and having bits chopped off you are certainly bad, but you could argue worse things

  • have happened.

  • In 2006, in Houston, an elderly gentleman died at the Galleria-area condominium complex

  • where he lived.

  • The elevator he was traveling in got stuck quite high up in the building.

  • There were a few occupants in the cabin at the time, and they all managed to squeeze

  • out except for him.

  • When it was his turn to get out, he didn't quite make it.

  • He slipped and fell down the shaft, falling 12 stories.

  • What's more upsetting is his grandchildren had been in there with him, but he helped

  • them get out first.

  • We don't know exactly how he died, but it's hard to survive falling from such a height.

  • If his head hit first,brain trauma would have killed him instantly.

  • If his legs hit the ground, the trauma would have done so much damage to his internal organs

  • that death would have been fast.

  • His spine would also have likely been fractured, and that would have interrupted blood flow

  • to the brain.

  • The last shaft fall we'll talk about happened in Spain in 2017.

  • In a highly unlikely tragedy, two teenagers got in an elevator and as it traveled down

  • the floor just gave way beneath them.

  • Both of them died on impact with the bottom of the shaft.

  • Ok, but what about freefalling in an elevator?

  • That's the thing people really worry about.

  • It doesn't happen that often because there are a lot of safety features inside elevators.

  • You have a much greater chance of being crushed by one than falling in one.

  • But it has happened.

  • In fact, one fall made it into the Guinness Book of Records.

  • On May 28, 1944, a woman named Betty Lou Oliver was working in New York City's Empire State

  • Building as an elevator attendant.

  • Suddenly there was a massive explosion and everything went dark.

  • That was because a plane had hit the building, causing considerable damage.

  • The B-25 service bomber had been on a training exercise when the pilot became disoriented

  • in thick fog.

  • 14 people died, including 3 people in the aircraft.

  • As for the 20-year old Betty, she had the fright of her life.

  • After the crash, she was thrown from where she was working.

  • She suffered terrible burns as well as a broken pelvis, back, and neck.

  • When rescuers found her, she was lying on the floor in agony.

  • They put her on a stretcher and into the 79th floor elevator.

  • What they couldn't have guessed was that the thing was on its last legs.

  • The elevator she was in plunged after all the cables holding it up snapped.

  • She went down like a rocket, down 75 stories.

  • That was about 1,000 feet (300 meters).

  • She miraculously survived, though.

  • There were so many cables that had bust beneath the elevator that before she could hit the

  • bottom she landed on four floors worth of a mass of snapped cables, which kind of acted

  • like a bed of springs.

  • She survived with some nasty injuries but made a full recovery and lived to be an old

  • woman.

  • In 1987, a mineshaft elevator fell after an explosion at a mine in South Africa.

  • It fell slightly less than a mile down the shaft.

  • All 52 men on board died.

  • In 2012, 19 men and women died in China when cables snapped on an elevator at a construction

  • site.

  • It was an exterior elevator used to get the workers up the building they were working

  • on.

  • News reports said the elevator went up a bit too fast, and then when it got to the 34th

  • floor, it came crashing down.

  • Workers were thrown everywhere.

  • One report said, “Body parts of the victims were scattered around the scene.”

  • But if we're not talking explosions or dodgy elevators used on construction sites, freefall

  • accidents just don't seem to happen that often.

  • The reason is the safety cables wouldn't all snap at once, and even if they somehow

  • did, the brakes would come to the rescue.

  • Modern elevators have something called a “speed-sensing governor”, so if the sensors detect the

  • car moving too fast the brakes are quickly activated.

  • Unfortunately for miners and construction workers, they sometimes travel in less safe

  • elevators.

  • If it did happen to you by some chance, the likelihood of survival from a great height

  • is between nil and next to nil if you weren't fortunate enough to have a pile of cables

  • below you near the bottom.

  • Without something to cushion your fall, you would be splattered on the floor of the cabin

  • with whoever else was with you.

  • Please don't think that jumping at the end would save you.

  • That kind of thinking is why so many we 'Fail' videos circulate online.

  • If you could somehow manage to jump just at the right time, the speed you fall might be

  • slightly slower.

  • Nonetheless, you've already been hurtling down a long way.

  • On top of that, if you don't time the jump just right, you will smack your head on the

  • roof, and that will mean goodnight Vienna.

  • Time the jump wrong, and you just hit the floor and die.

  • We looked at what the experts said about this, and they agreed that the last-second jump

  • would be about as effective as spitting on yourself while trapped in a raging house fire.

  • However, one person did say that there would be more chance of survival if you laid down

  • and spread your body over the floor of the cabin.

  • Still, in a busy elevator, you might have to fight for floor rights.

  • That will have to be a very short debate.

  • Even if you win, you'll still likely die, maybe with the bones of the person you just

  • argued with sticking into your face.

  • Just to give you an example, we'll tell you about a couple of fatal freefall accidents

  • we found that didn't involve a mine or a construction site.

  • One happened in Spain in 1989.

  • A newspaper headline translated into English read, “Seven dead in a Barcelona hospital

  • when the elevator in which they were traveling fell into space.”

  • The story said the elevator plunged seven floors at the Príncipes de España hospital

  • in Barcelona.

  • In this case, the safety brake didn't work due to a malfunction.

  • Witnesses heard the thing go into freefall, with one of them saying, “It sounded like

  • the noise of a train at full speed and a subsequent explosion.”

  • Six people died on impact, and one person died later in hospital from her injuries.

  • Maybe she was the one that got the floor space, but this scenario is highly unlikely.

  • In 2019, six people died in India when they got into an elevator after attending a New

  • Year's Eve party.

  • Indian news media said a belt broke, and the cabin plunged 100 feet (about 30 meters).

  • The accident happened in one of the towers at a farmhouse of a wealthy businessman.

  • He and five of his family were killed.

  • While free falling in an elevator is about as likely as a piano falling on your head,

  • it has happened.

  • That should make some of you sleep better at night, but this won't.

  • We mentioned rockets earlier, but rockets generally go upwards at high speeds, not downwards.

  • In Chile in 2014 a man got the real rocket experience.

  • He got in an apartment elevator and the thing just started flying upwards.

  • CCTV shows him getting into the cabin with a bunch of shopping bags.

  • Everything looks fine.

  • But when the doors close, the elevator shoots up.

  • He starts frantically pressing buttons in what would be comical if it didn't end so

  • badly.

  • He ascended 30 floors in just 15 seconds, after which the elevator smashed through the

  • roof, but perhaps not as gracefully as Willy Wonka's glass elevator.

  • The man suffered some serious injuries to his head and legs, but reports said he would

  • live to see another dayplus he has the best story ever.

  • Now for another accident you just would never imagine could happen.

  • In 2020, a young couple died in Tel Aviv in an elevator.

  • During heavy rainfall, the elevator they were in malfunctioned, and they were unable to

  • open the doors.

  • Little by little, the thing started to fill with water.

  • Rescue services tried their best to get them out, but they both drowned.

  • As for those folks in Chicago we talked about at the start, the elevator plunged all the

  • way from the 95th floor to the 11th floor, but it stopped there.

  • One of the occupants later said she was sure she and her fellow passengers, some Northwestern

  • law students, and a couple of tourists from Mexico, were all going to die.

  • It was a bit of a bad trip for everyone involved, but they were saved because only one of the

  • cables snapped.

  • No one was even hurt, although a guy was so shaken up, he had to be treated for anxiety.

  • It took three hours for firefighters to get them out, and all the time they weren't