US woman in gruesome elevator death

2011-12-15 12:03

New York - An advertising executive stepping onto an elevator at her Madison Avenue office building became caught as its doors were closing and was dragged as it shot upward, crushing her to death between floors.

Two other people who got on just before looked on in horror as Suzanne Hart was killed.

They were rescued from the elevator, which jammed between the first and second floors, and were taken to a hospital to be evaluated for psychological trauma.

Neither appeared to be physically injured, police and fire department officials said.

Public safety and law enforcement officials said Hart was stepping onto the elevator when her foot became caught in the gap between the elevator car and the lobby floor. They say the car then rose abruptly with its doors still open, pulling her along.

The accident happened on Wednesday morning in a 26-storey midtown Manhattan office tower near Grand Central Terminal. The building has been the long-time home of Hart's company, the advertising agency Y&R, formerly known as Young & Rubicam.

Investigators with the city's buildings department were trying to determine what went wrong. Safety mechanisms are supposed to prevent elevators from moving while their doors are open.

Taken out of use

A buildings department spokesperson, Tony Sclafani, said the elevator was inspected in June and no safety issues were found then. The last time the elevator received a violation for a safety hazard was in 2003, and the condition was corrected, Sclafani said.

The elevator is one of 13 in the tower. It was taken out of use pending the outcome of an investigation.

Hart, 41, was a director of business development at Y&R and lived in Brooklyn. Her father told The New York Times in a phone interview from his home in Florida that she was "the most marvellous daughter imaginable".

"No father could have ever been more proud of her," he said.

A spokesperson for Y&R, which announced just days ago that it planned to vacate the building for a new headquarters, confirmed that there had been a fatality but said she couldn't provide additional information.

The company is among a number of tenants in the building.

Officials initially reported, inaccurately, that the elevator had fallen two floors.

  • Alan - 2011-12-15 12:10


  • JamesLoretz - 2011-12-15 12:26

    Final Destination! What a way to go! Condolences and R.I.P.

      Shawn - 2011-12-15 13:37

      That was the 1st thing that came to mind "Final Destination" freaky . . . condolences though.

  • Shirley - 2011-12-15 12:28

    What an absolute freak accident!The people who witnessed this horror are going to need some therapy. Condolances to all concerned.

  • Cameronl - 2011-12-15 12:46

    genuine american lawsuit on the way. what a crap way to go though, i trully hope it was a swift and painless death.

  • vanetia.mentor - 2011-12-15 12:52

    oh heck...sounds Final Destination-ish..

  • Wendy - 2011-12-15 12:53

    So Sad,. Just imagine having to watching someone being killed in such a horrific way.

  • jombo - 2011-12-15 12:59

    Eish, the stuff you see in horror movies. RIP.

  • Paul - 2011-12-15 14:00

    World news for the stereotypes. Surely the american government is to blame not the greedy corporate who maintains the lift.

  • Vivian - 2011-12-15 14:38

    HECTIC, what a way to go hey, RIP

  • Selma - 2011-12-15 15:20

    A similar freak accident happened in Durban in the early 1990's. The victim was a male and a female witnesed the terrible ordeal. To this day I am very wary of lifts. Too ghastly to contemplate.

  • Bob - 2011-12-15 17:05

    Nobody deservers to be killed like that....! R.I.P.

  • markwmilligan - 2011-12-15 17:13


  • Carl - 2011-12-15 17:50

    I have been stuck in the glass elevator in East Gate Mall once. It just stopped between floors for no reason. Luckilly they managed to get it moving and open in about 20 minutes. Since then I use the escalators and wont use that elevator again.

  • Deepchund - 2011-12-15 19:15

    This accident is not a freak one, poor maintenance is the cause. As Selma points out,a similar accident in the 1990's in Durban occurred in a building owned by a building society. Many other lift accidents don't make it to the press.

  • Vida - 2011-12-15 20:05

    What a horribly tragedy!!

  • Pierre - 2011-12-15 23:05

    I TORN apart

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