The first scenario Ozzy postulated involved an elevator car stuck more than halfway up the outer doors. In order to get out, one would need to force open both the inner and outer doors. Ozzy notes that many people in this situation choose to exit the elevator car feet-first while on their stomachs. And when one can't quite reach the "sill" of the outer door with his feet, then this becomes an extremely dangerous maneuver. When pushing oneself backward with the arms, momentum causes the legs to move upward toward a sitting position. Because of this, many repairmen have plunged down elevator shafts.
Ozzy's second scenario is perhaps even more disturbing. Many trapped elevator operators manage to pry open both the inner and outer sets of doors. They then sit on the floor of the elevator car and dangle their legs over the edge before leaping out of the car and through both sets of open doors. Instinctually, however, many balance themselves against the outer elevator doors - which, counter-intuitively, offer no resistance and move. This could cause someone to lose his or her balance and fall down the shaft.
"A lot of elevator men have been killed by forcing doors open and leaping out of elevators," said Ozzy. "Elevators are super safe. But when people get stuck, they want to get out as fast as they can, so they try to [escape]. Stay in there. Inside is the safest place to be - unless there's a fire."
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Kliman: How elevator accidents happen
Joe Eskenazi of San Francisco Weekly continues to do great research on the death of Dan Kliman. Today he has posted scenarios of ways an elevator repairman can fall to his death from an elevator stuck between floors based on an interview with an elevator repairman he refers to as "Ozzy":