When I was a very young child, my dad told me about a friend of his who fell down an elevator shaft and died. Maybe this was to try to scare me away from open elevator shafts specifically, but its result was to give me a phobia of all elevator usage, which stayed with me until my early 20s when I read a little bit about how modern elevators work and that they have numerous failsafe devices in place.
Lo and behold, today I see this article on CNN about a woman whose elevator plummeted down and killed her. There’s no explanation in the article about how it happened (though I assume there is going to be a very thorough investigation by engineers), and it says the elevator had recently been inspected for safety and deemed safe.
So, what could have happened to cause this? How many different components would have to fail in an elevator for it to actually drop down and kill someone?