It seems the advance of a horror movie, three couples of strangers are forced to leave at midnight a luxurious restaurant located in a skyscraper in Chicago. Among them is a pregnant woman, two students who could not access the premises and a Mexican tourist couple.
Once inside the elevator, they perceived that the speed with which the machine was going down was abnormal. Suddenly, a braking. Aware that they had been trapped began the screaming, the prayer.
Everything happened last Friday in the building formerly known as John Hancock Center, which with its 100 floors occupies the fourth place in the ranking of the highest in the city of winds.
The elevator collapsed in free fall for 84 floors. All of its occupants, who descended from the 95th to the 11th floors, were unharmed from the incident. The cause of the mechanical failure was due to the breakage of one of the cables that support the elevator.
Survivors managed to notify the emergency services by text message. The firefighters took about three hours to free the group, which had taken the elevator after leaving the Signature Room restaurant on the 95th floor. The delay in the rescue was due to the fact that they were trapped in a “blind hole”, which means that there were no doors for firefighters to gain access to, the Chicago Fire Department chief, Patrick Maloney, told the US media.
“At first, we thought we were going to die,” said Mexican Jaime Montemayor, who had visited the city with his wife. Montemayor described what lived inside the cubicle: “We were going down and I felt we were falling and then I heard a clack clack clack noise “, picked up a local newspaper.
His partner, Mana Castillo, said the device “was moving at a normal speed, but began to descend making noise.” Another one of the affected ones, a young American, assured that they began to fall “more and more and faster, without stopping”.
A law student at Northwestern University described the Chicago Tribune feeling like turbulence on an airplane. When the elevator braked abruptly, thanks to the cables that did work properly, the cabin was filled with dust and dirt.
The rescue team drilled a hole in a concrete wall at the height of the eleventh floor. “It was a precarious situation, the cable broke on top of the elevator and we could not do a lift rescue, we had to break a wall,” Maloney explained.
The device did not hit the ground because it was supported by several additional cables that supported the excess weight. Around three o’clock in the morning, the six affected were released and received applause by their friends and family.
The causes of the accident at what is now known as 875 North Michigan Avenue are still being investigated even though the damaged elevator passed an inspection last July. In addition, the maintenance team visited the skyscraper twice in the last four years, the last in 2017. Currently, more than 20,000 elevators installed throughout the city require annual inspections.