- On Friday, 6 people were trapped in an elevator in Chicago after it fell over 80 floors.
- The express elevator in the John Hancock building was sent falling after a cable snapped.
- The group got in on the elevator on the 95th floor, but they were sent falling.
- At least one passenger believed they were going to die.
- They were ultimately rescued by firefighters.
Six people became trapped in an elevator after it malfunctioned and plummeted over 80 floors just after midnight on Friday.
The group boarded the express elevator at the former John Hancock Center in Chicago on the 95th floor. But shortly after, one of the cables holding it broke, sending the elevator falling, per the Chicago Tribune.
Among those trapped were two Northwestern University law students, tourists from New Zealand and Mexico, a pregnant woman, per the Huffington Post.
“It was really bumpy – it felt like a flight into Chicago,” one of the Northwestern students, who asked not to be identified for privacy reasons, told the Chicago Tribune.
As the elevator fell, the group, who had been calm at first “started freaking out,” the student said.
“I thought we were going to die,” Jaime Montemayor, one of the tourists from Mexico said.
After 45 minutes, the fire department got involved, the Chicago Tribune reported. But even then it wasn’t an easy rescue mission as they could not locate the fallen elevator.
“They couldn’t find us,” the law student told the Chicago Tribune. “We thought we only fell a few floors, but we ended up falling 84.”
But once the firefighters determined the scope of the fall, they were able to rescue to the group by cutting a 5-foot by 5-foot hole in the building’s brick wall, according to the outlet.
“We don’t like to have to go through walls unless it’s absolutely necessary,” Larry Langford, the director of the Chicago Fire Department, said. “The only other way to get to the elevator would have been ropes from the 97th floor, and that would not be safe. We don’t come down like Batman so we must go through the wall.”
To carry out the rescue, the firefighters put up struts and bracings to keep the elevator from dropping more. Then, they sent one firefighter down to survey the scene. To accomplish the rescue, the door was forced open and a “small ladder” was used, Langford said.
Then, the 6 trapped were brought out.
Langford said one person was experiencing anxiety at the time, but there were no serious injuries.
The John Hancock building, which was recently renamed 875 North Michigan Avenue, is 100 stories tall. Construction started on the building in 1965. City Buildings Department spokesman Gregg Cunningham told the paper said that the elevator passed an inspection in July. The department is investigating Friday’s incident.