Man decapitated by many things went wrong for this to happen??

There are many safeguards on elevators. How could this happen?

Total failure of the system?

As far as I know, only a single switch needs to fail on older systems. This switch is meant to detect a blockage of the door, causing it to open again, and it also detects the fully-closed state of the door, and allows the car to move. If this switch fails in such a way that the elevator thinks the door is fully closed, this is the tragic result. I don’t know about newer systems, where there may be more redundancy and tighter safety interlocks.

In a Sydney department store I worked in during the late 80s, there was a goods lift in the loading dock. Twenty years earlier, the glass panel in the door was missing, and a guy stuck his head in to see if the lift was on its way. With a predictable result.

In this case it was 1960s vintage equipment. One glass panel missing, and probably not replaced urgently because it was out of view of the customers.
We never liked using that thing.

Per QED’s note for an elevator to ascend with non-closed doors the door closing sensor failsafe would have to fail. That’s about the only way a modern elevator could kill you and IIRC that’s how the majority of fatal elevator accidents happen. Falling accidents are extremely rare as multiple safety systems would have to fail like they did in 9/11 due to building failure and fire.

See How Elevators Work

There’s also got to be an occasional fatality of someone like me getting hit by the counterweight or falling down the shaft while riding on the top of the elevator.

Open-shaft falls are fairly common too, especially again on older systems.

Holy crap I know some surgical residents at St. Joe’s…

A high school classmate of mine died this way, sticking his head out of an old service elevator while it was moving. Not decapitated, but the head trauma was fatal.

A horrific recent story from London.

after all these stories I’m taking the stairs

Gosh, would anyone care to offer a few elevator safety tips?

I suppose that rule 1 is not to get in the way of a closing door (assuming that it will stop).

And perhaps rule 2 is when you are waiting for the elevator and the doors open, check to make sure the car is actually there.

Any thoughts?

This is why I leap on and off elevators (after making sure the car is there). I hate the damned things.

Ugh what awful stories… There’s a scene in the recent horror movie Final Destination 2 in which a woman dies in almost exactly the way desribed in the OP’s link – very graphically. It freaked me out at the time, but I tried to remember that it was just a stupid teen horror flick… But now knowing that it actually happens, I’m even more freaked out.

(I’m so stupid… Sorry about the screwed up italics)

Shouldn’t this be a non-issue? The outer doors don’t have a motor, they operate on the motors in the cars. The doors shouldn’t be able to open without the car being there. I don’t see how this type of accident could happen by a sensor failing.

A morbid question based on something in the article:

Was she trapped on the elevator with the body or with the head?

But, but, but… I haven’t seen that movie yet. :frowning:

Jeebus! That’s nightmare material either way! What a choice!!?!?!


I’m not at all freaked out by morbid blood n’ guts type stuff but that story was painful to read. Yowza - imagine being the guy stuck in there. I bet it was slow enough he could FEEL his head being torn off. Gyyyeeeessshhh. :eek:

The head, from what I was able to read on th internet.