Elevators, by any stretch of the imagination, are one of, if not the, safest mode of human transportation in a mechanical object.
Really, when you stop and think about it, how many times have you taken an elevator?
Probably hundreds of times, and if you work or live in a high rise building, probably thousands of times.
And aside from the occasional mechanical problem, (which are VERY occasional, statistics show only 1 in 12 million elevator rides result in some kind of problem, and that is usually a minor fault such as doors failing to open), you are still here to read Listverse every day.
In fact, of the millions of elevator rides taken by humans every year, only about 20-30 elevator-related fatalities occur.
The second incident did not involve a malfunction of the elevator or an error by anyone riding in it.
Instead, it was a horrific and cold-blooded murder.
A man named Jerome Isaac attacked and killed a 73 year-old woman named Deloris Gillespie.
On Saturday, December 17, 2011, Ms Gillespie was returning to her fifth-floor apartment, in Prospect Heights New York City, from an evening of grocery shopping.
She stepped onto the buildings elevator to go to her apartment, and on the fifth floor, Isaac was waiting for her.
She was declared dead at the scene and Isaac is now in custody.
It’s hard to imagine a more horrific way to die in an elevator than the fate that befell Ms Gillespie, but here are ten more tragic elevator accidents for your consideration.
On the night of May 22, 1903, in Pittsburgh, PA, a large group of mostly young people who attended the Pennsylvania Electric Mechanical Institute were having a celebration party on the fifth and sixth floors of the Donnelley building.
About 700 people packed the two floors for the ball, and at around 10 PM another group of seventeen passengers was loaded into the elevator on the first floor, bound for the party on floor six.
Just as the elevator reached the floor, it suddenly let go and fell six stories, crashing into the elevator pit.
Because he was angry over money Ms Gillespie supposedly owed him, he attacked her as the elevator doors opened.
Surveillance video shows Isaac spraying a flammable material, possibly gasoline, from a garden type sprayer into Ms.
Gillespie’s face as he pushed her back into the elevator.
Isaac then lit a Molotov cocktail, stepped out of the elevator and threw it in, igniting the woman in flames.
For good measure, he then stepped back towards the elevator and sprayed her again with gasoline, as she burned alive.
The multi-ton elevator cable and assembly came crashing down onto the elevator, crushing the occupants.
When the party goers heard the crash, they rushed to the elevator.
In the panic, some nearly fell into the open shaft.
Four bodies were pulled from the rubble and taken to a morgue.
They were so badly mangled it was not until the next day they could be identified.
So mangled were the bodies, they could only be identified by the cloths they were wearing.
The others in the elevator, the youngest being only 3 years old, somehow survived.
The accident was blamed on overloading of the elevator with 17 people when the maximum weight allowed for only 10-12. World War II had come to an end barely four months earlier, but life went on all across the United States, where industry was trying to make the pivot from wartime production back to peacetime.
In the little town of Dover-Foxcraft, Maine, at the American Woolen Company textile mill, twelve women were about to do something they did every day at work – step onto an elevator.
Only this time, things would not go as they normally did.
And these usually involve a maintenance person, or an occupant being reckless (climbing out of a stuck elevator) or careless (stepping into an open elevator shaft) or just plain unlucky (getting their scarf caught in a closing elevator door).
However, two recent elevator related tragedies in New York City have focused our attention back to an indispensable piece of technology that most of us take for granted, but which still holds both the power to kill and frighten.
The first incident took place when 41-year-old Suzanne Hart was killed in an elevator accident.