Man Crushed by New York City Elevator Is Identified

August 23, 2019 Updated: August 23, 2019

A Manhattan man who was crushed to death by a New York City building elevator was identified.

Sam Waisbren, 30, died after the lift plunged as he was trying to get off, the New York Post reported (Warning: graphic footage). He was crushed by the elevator and the shaft wall.

“The guy literally was trying to climb out onto the floor while the elevator was still [moving down],” said a building worker told paper. “It’s awful.”

A woman is seen waiting before the elevator door opens into the lobby. A man with a backpack emerges from the lift before Waisbren and five others plunge as the elevator drops.

Waisbren appeared to grab the frame of the elevator door but was overpowered by the force of the falling lift.

“His initial reaction was to put his arm out . . . so he could get off,” the building worker told the paper. “At that point, the elevator took him down. Jumping out [of] the car while it’s still moving, you just don’t want to do it.”

He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the news outlet.

“He was a wonderful young man,” said his father, Charles Waisbren, reported the paper. His son, he said, worked in software sales.

The father added: “He had millions of friends out in New York. He was loved by everybody.”

The family is now “absolutely devastated” by their loss, he said.

The Post uploaded a video of the gruesome incident.

Prior Issues

A building employee said that security footage captured the fatal incident. As the elevator door began to close, the victim placed his hand out to try to stop it from closing, the New York Times reported.

However, the lift kept going down and he attempted to rush through the door before he was caught. “Like jumping out of a car if it’s still moving,” the person said.

The Times also reported that the 23-story apartment building was recently fined $1,300 after inspectors “found that a safety feature on one of the elevators had been disabled or tampered with.”

One building resident, Alex, 25, said that the elevators typically had problems, adding that one of the elevators was not working on the same day of the accident.

“We saw the warning signs,” Alex told the news outlet. “The thing breaks all the time. It’s pretty bad.”

Alex added that one time, he had to pull the elevator’s sliding door shut to keep himself inside as “the door won’t close all the way.”

Another woman said riding the elevator was like being on an amusement park ride. “It’s out all the time. I’ve been stuck inside the elevator before,” the woman said. “It’s super scary, they always jump between floors.”

Dayna Sargen, a resident, said that “I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable putting my kids in an elevator here again.”

She added: “The elevators are constantly breaking down, there are very, very frequent maintenance issues with the elevator.”

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