Lift with 6 people plunges 84 floors in Chicago skyscraper

Nellie Chapman
November 21, 2018

When dust particles started falling from the elevator ceiling, Montemayor's wife, Mana Castillo, said she feared the worst.

The rescue itself would take another several hours, the Chicago Tribune reported, as the vehicle was in a "blind shaft" for express elevators with few access points from outside that firefighters could use to even locate where it eventually stopped.

Six people left the dining room on the 95th floor of Chicago's famed Hancock building early Friday, stepped into an express elevator and fell 84 floors before they were rescued by firefighters who had to break through a brick wall to access them.

"I knew something wasn't OK", Castillo told the Chicago Tribune.

Montemayor, who was visiting from Mexico City on a business trip with his wife Maña, said the couple held onto each other and began praying.

The six people had gotten into an elevator on the 95th floor of the 875 North Michigan Avenue building, formerly known as the John Hancock Center, when they heard a loud noise as the auto started descending. Other cables were still attached, keeping the elevator from plummeting to the floor. No one required medical attention.

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Apparently one of the elevator's hoist ropes snapped.

The problem? They were trapped in a "blind shaft", meaning there were no doors through which firefighters could enter the shaft and get to them, Chicago Fire Department Battalion Chief Patrick Maloney told reporters at the scene, according to ABC 7 Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune reported that once the elevator was located, firefighters had to cut a hole in the wall of the parking garage to reach the elevator.

Larry Langford, a spokesperson for the Chicago Fire Department, confirmed to the Tribune that apart from one individual suffering from anxiety, there were no serious injuries. The elevator even passed inspection as recently as July.

The elevator and the two next to it will be closed until the appropriate repairs are made.

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