The tragic elevator accident that killed a New York City woman was written about in last week’s post. Questions remained as to how the accident happened, but now new details may provide a clearer reason for the elevator’s malfunction.

The fatal accident happened on Dec. 14 around 10 a.m. as a 41-year-old advertising executive was arriving for work at her building along Madison Avenue. As she stepped into one of the 13 elevators in her building, it shot upwards trapping her body between the elevator and the shaft wall.

Recently, a spokesman for the New York City Buildings Department said that maintenance had been performed on the elevator just hours before the deadly accident. The spokesman said that had become the primary focus for investigators.

The elevator was serviced by a Transel Elevator Inc., a company that maintains elevators in many other buildings in New York City. The city will now be looking at all of the elevators maintained by that company more closely to hopefully prevent any other accidents from happening.

According to the news source, the building where the accident occurred had 14 open violations, some from as long ago as last year. It was previously thought that all of the violations had been cleared up. An official with the Buildings Department said that none of the violations were for hazardous conditions.

Despite the tragedy, it appears that elevator fatalities are rare. There are close to one millions elevators across the United States. Each year, about 27 people are killed in elevator accidents.

As the investigation continues, more details may be uncovered that help determine what caused the accident. In a case like this, the elevator maintenance company or the building owner may be held responsible for the woman’s tragic death.

Source: The New York Times, “Elevator Was Serviced Just Before Accident,” Cara Buckley, Dec. 15, 2011

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