Six people escape unhurt after lift plunges 84 floors down Chicago skyscraper


The Chicago Fire Department were called after passengers became stuck at 12:30 a.m. Friday, and officials soon realized two cables had snapped and six people, including a pregnant woman, were trapped in a "blind shaft" elevator.

"I knew something wasn't ok", she said.

"At the beginning, I believed we were going to die", Jaime Montemayor, 50, a passenger who was visiting from Mexico with his wife, Mana Castillo, told CBS 2 Chicago.

The six people had gotten into an elevator on the 95th floor of the 875 North Michigan Avenue building, formerly known as the John Hancock Center, when they heard a loud noise as the vehicle started descending. "We were going down, and then I felt that we were falling down, and then I heard a noise: clack clack clack clack" - the sound of getting trapped in a lift. No one was injured, but those inside had to wait hours for firefighters to break through a wall more than 10 stories above ground. "We couldn't do an elevator-to-elevator rescue".

The Chicago Fire Department is being praised for their response to the situation. 'The only other way to get to the elevator would have been ropes from the 97th floor, and that would not be safe.

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The building, officially known by its address 875 North Michigan Avenue, ironically boasts of safety features such as a "computerized monitoring system" to locate any emergency to unlock any stairwell doors on its website, but the express elevator required breaking the wall to reveal where it was.

Finally, the firefighters busted through the brick wall of the parking garage, creating a 1.5m by 1.5m hole through which they could see the top half of the lift.

"When they opened the door, the feeling was, 'Thanks, bud!'" Montemayor told the Chicago Tribune.

It later emerged that one of the hoist ropes of the elevator had broken-even though, according to CBS Chicago, the elevator had passed its annual inspection in July.