30-Year-Old Man Crushed To Death In Freak NYC Elevator Accident

Photo: facebook
who is Samuel Waisbren

Many people come to New York City for job opportunities, a chance to follow their dreams as an actor or singer, or just to make the city their playground. And though most individuals who travel far won’t “make it,” nobody expects to meet an untimely fate in the Big Apple.

Who is Samuel Waisbren? On Thursday, August 22, Waisbren, who was originally from Wisconsin and worked in Manhattan as a software salesman, was killed in his apartment’s elevator. While on his way to work, he took the elevator down to the main floor. The elevator suddenly dropped, pinning him between a wall and the elevator car, and subsequently crushing him. He was 30 years old.

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One individual was able to get off the elevator before it plummeted, and five others remained trapped in the car on the basement level. They were eventually rescued by firefighters.

The medical examiner declared his death an accident, and an autopsy found that he suffered extensive injuries, including his neck and chest. He died from crushing blunt force injuries and “mechanical asphyxia,” which means his breathing was “violently hampered” when he became pinned.

Photo: Facebook

Waisbren’s father, Charles, spoke to reporters about the death of his son, saying, “Sam was, you know, a wonderful young man. I’m just devastated in that he won’t be able to have children, father a child and grow up and enjoy life. We’re just devastated... You send someone out to New York City to find fame and fortune, and they don’t provide a safe environment for him. He was living in a fancy building, paying a lot of rent, and basically it killed him.”

What caused this freak accident and the death of an innocent young man? According to residents, there had been a continuous issue with this specific elevator, which had occurred for months. Even Waisbren had informed his parents that the elevators were problematic. 

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There’s currently an open violation for the elevator that dates back to May, showing that the elevator was disabled, tampered with, and “rendered inoperative.” The building managers were fined but never fixed the issue. And according to city records, there have been 16 violations for the elevator in that building since 2003, though all were dismissed.

Now, they could be liable for Waisbren’s death. Charles Waisbren is now calling for the building’s managers to be held accountable, adding, “For them to actually kill my son, you know? It was a disregard for elevator repair. You know, it’s just... I’m just devastated by it. You know, you just don’t know how you’re going to go, live any longer, how you can enjoy life.”

Photo: Facebook

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Elevator expert Patrick Carr commented on the elevator, saying it has safety features to stop it from suddenly moving when the doors are open. “Actually, where you’re standing, there’s three things. Behind here is a door detector, which is looking at your presence. It knows you’re here,” he said. 

He then revealed that a gate switch and an interlock switch should have prevented the car from falling. “It could be human failure, which we had in one case where the interlock and the gate switch circuit were intentionally bypassed. When that happens, yes, the accident could occur,” he added.

The Department of Buildings is currently investigating and released a statement to the public: “The Department of Buildings 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. We’re determined to find out what went wrong at this building and seek ways to prevent incidents like this in the future.”

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.