Man crushed by elevator in freak accident

NEW YORK CITY — A simple ride in an elevator turned deadly for one man in New York. Officials said he went to get off when the car began to drop.

"It's heartbreaking. I've been crying all morning. I'm been really upset," resident Dayna Sargen told WITI.

Emotions are uncontrollable after a freak accident crushed Samuel Waisbren, 30.

"I don't know if I will ever feel safe getting back on that elevator again," said Sargen, echoing a common feeling among people who live in the high-rise building.


Around 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning, Waisbren, a tenant in the building, was trying to get off an elevator at the lobby level when the elevator car suddenly dropped to the basement.

Waisbren became stuck between the car and the shaft wall on the first floor. Another person was able to get off before the accident. Five others were trapped in the elevator in the basement. It took firefighters a few minutes to rescue them.

As for how something like this could happen, buildings records show 16 violations issued by the Department of Buildings between 2017 and 2018. All had been dismissed, but were not surprising to Sargen.

"There's been many, many issues with the elevators not working. There's obviously never been an issue to this, this level, but the elevators tend to have many, many problems."

In a statement, the Department of Buildings said, "The DOB is investigating this incident aggressively and will take all appropriate enforcement actions. Elevators are the safest form of travel in New York, due to the city's stringent inspection and safety requirements.