New York News

Work on elevator new focus in deadly accident

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eyewitness News has learned that work had been done on an elevator just hours before a deadly accident in a Midtown office building.

The Department of Buildings says the repair work completed by Transel Elevator is now the focus of their investigation.

Ad executive Suzanne Hart, 41, was killed when an elevator rapidly shot upwards while she was attempting to get on.

The building is the longtime home of advertising firm Y&R, which was named Young & Rubicam when it opened its doors in 1926. Now, authorities are trying to determine what caused the elevator to malfunction. It was an elevator, officials say, that recently passed inspection.

It took responders nearly all day to free Hart's body. The 41-year-old was killed when the elevator shot upwards, with its doors open, just as she attempted to get on.

It dragged Hart until she was pinned between the elevator and the wall, between the first and second floors. Two other passengers who witnessed Hart's death had to be treated for trauma.

Hart's father arrived from Florida Wednesday night, sharing the sorrow with his daughter's boyfriend, Chris Dickson.

"I have no words for it," Dickson told Eyewitness News reporter Anthony Johnson. "She was the bright spot in my life."

Investigators say the malfunctioning elevator had been inspected in June and that there were no safety concerns. The building, 285 Madison Avenue, was last cited for elevator problems in 2009. The buildings department says all of those complaints were resolved.

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