List of elevator accidents

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This is a list of elevator accidents by death toll. It does not include accidents involving gondola lifts, ski lifts, and similar types of cable transport.


Deaths Injuries Date Incident Location
200-400 (estimate) 1 2001-09-11 Two hijacked planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, causing severe damage to the elevator system, which had 198 elevators in total. Elevator shafts also channeled burning jet fuel throughout both towers. Some elevators fell when their cables were severed, while others were engulfed in flames or stuck until the buildings collapsed. An estimated 200 to 400 people died, most of whom were in express elevators that went from the ground floor to the 78th floor sky lobbies or in elevators near the top floors. At least 21 people were trapped but managed to escape and 80 others survived because the doors happened to be open. At least one of those who survived was in a burning elevator, causing burns over 40% of his body.[1] New York City, New York, U.S.
104 0 1995-05-10 A locomotive crashed through a safety barrier and fell into a mine shaft, hitting an elevator which was carrying 104 workers and causing it to plunge to the bottom of the shaft.[2][3] Orkney, South Africa
52 0 1987-08-31 A methane gas explosion at the St. Helena gold mine severed the cable of a double-deck elevator, causing it to fall 1.4 kilometers to the bottom of the mine shaft, killing all 52 people on board. 10 others who were not in the elevator were killed in the explosion.[4][5] Welkom, South Africa
19 0 2012-09-13 An elevator fell about 100 meter at a construction site, killing everyone on board.[6] Wuhan, China
19 1 1932-10-10 A mine-shaft elevator carrying 20 people fell at the Bickershaw Colliery, killing all but one person. [7][8] Leigh, England
18 11 1973-07-30 A mine-shaft elevator fell at the Markham Colliery.[9] Chesterfield, England
12 0 2008-10-30 An elevator plunged to the ground at a construction site.[10] Xiapu County, China
12 0 1993-06-02 An elevator plunged to the ground from the 20th floor at a construction site.[11] North Point, Hong Kong
11 2 2019-04-25 An elevator fell at a construction site due to a snapped cable.[12] Hengshui, China
11 4 2011-07-29 A mine-shaft elevator fell at the Bazhanov coal mine.[13] Makiivka, Ukraine
10 5 1964-03-27 A steel cable hit a mine-shaft elevator at the Sachsen coal mine, killing 10 workers, including 5 Turkish nationals.[14] Heeßen, Germany
10 0 2014-09-06 An elevator plunged 32 stories at a construction site.[15] Istanbul, Turkey
9 0 2011-08-09 An elevator fell from the 22nd floor at a building under construction due to a snapped cable.[16] Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
8-10 0-2 1904-01-13 A crowd of employees at a Brown Shoe Company factory was waiting for the elevator when someone raised the gate, causing 10 people to fall down the shaft. At least 8 people were killed. The other two were described as "fatally injured," but it's unknown if they succumbed to their injuries.[17][18] St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
8 0 2016-07-15 A construction elevator fell from the 18th story of an apartment building under construction.[19] Longkou, China
7 0 1989-05-21 An elevator fell at the Príncipes de España Hospital, killing 7 visitors.[20] L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain
6 1 2019-12-31 A temporary elevator at an under-construction tower at a farmhouse fell from a height of 30 metres (98 ft) when the cable broke during a New Year's Eve party. A businessman and five members of his family were killed. Another relative was critically injured.[21][22][23] Patalpani, Madhya Pradesh, India
6 0 2018-09-04 An elevator fell up to 20 stories at a construction site.[24] Tehran, Iran
6 0 2017-01-05 Six men fell out of a mine-shaft elevator due to a broken control switch.[25] Mogok Township. Myanmar
6 0 2019-03-09 A construction elevator fell from the 15th floor.[26] Karachi, Pakistan
5 12+ 1957-03-20 A construction elevator carrying 21 people plunged five floors when the cable broke.[27][28] Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
5 0 1999-09-07 An elevator carrying 5 female painters fell from the 10th floor at an apartment building under construction, killing everyone on board.[29] Yongin, South Korea
5 0 2009-04-02 Workers fell from an elevator at a construction site.[30] Laiwu, China
4 0 1973-04-12 A flash fire swept through an elevator at the Sears Tower, killing four elevator mechanics who were using cleaning fluid to rub down elevator guide rails.[31] Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
4 14 1903-05-22 An elevator at the Donnelly Building fell from the 5th or 6th floor when the steel cable snapped, causing it to crash through the floor above the basement.[32] It was caused by overloading and the elevator had an insufficient capacity. No charges were filed.[33] Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
4 3 1938-04 A mine-shaft elevator fell 800 feet at a gold mine.[34] Beardmore, Ontario, Canada
4 3 1909-03-25 An elevator fell about 60 feet at a wool warehouse at St Katharine Docks[35] London, England
4 1 2018-09-04 An elevator fell from the sixth floor of a hotel under construction. Overload of people and construction materials was blamed for the accident.[36] Pailin Province, Cambodia
4 0 1958-04-16 An elevator at a dam at the Snowy Mountains Scheme fell about 400 feet when the cable broke, killing 4 Italian employees of a French construction firm.[37] Near Cabramurra, Australia
4 0 2019-12-30 An elevator at a Brazilian Navy apartment building fell from the 9th floor when the cabin became detached from the cable system, killing four members of a family.[38] Santos, São Paulo, Brazil
3 7 1932-09 An elevator fell 150 feet down a shaft when the cable broke.[39] Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
3 3 2019-08-14 An elevator carrying 4 workers fell from the 15th floor at an apartment building under construction, killing 3 of them and seriously injuring the 4th. Two workers on the ground were also injured.[40] Sokcho, South Korea
3 2+ 1892-03-15 Workers at a boiler factory were using a freight elevator to lift heavy machinery when the rope broke. Three workers were killed instantly and two others were described as "fatally injured," but it's unknown if they died. Several others suffered minor injuries.[41] St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
2 16 1920-08-29 An elevator plunged from the 10th floor at the Clarendon Building when the main cable broke.[42] New York City, New York, U.S.
2 11 1902-10 An elevator fell at a shoe factory.[43] Lynn, Massachusetts, U.S.
2 10 1946-12-11 An elevator dropped 35 feet at the American Woolen Company Foxcroft Mill, after which the cables and other items crashed through the roof. [44] Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, U.S.
2 6 1904-09 A freight elevator carrying 10 people fell three stories at a Sears store. The freight elevator was being used because the passenger elevator was out of service for repairs.[45] Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
2 2 2020-01-01 Four people were in an elevator at an apartment building when it lost power as a result of a fire on the ground floor. The elevator stopped and the cabin filled with smoke, rendering the victims unconscious. A 39-year-old man and his 4-year-old son were killed, while the 36-year-old mother and the couple's 8-year-old daughter were seriously injured. The fire was likely caused by fireworks and two boys, aged 12 and 13, were arrested on suspicion of arson.[46] Arnhem, Netherlands
2 0 2017-05-09 The floor of an elevator gave way between the 6th and 9th floor of an apartment building, causing two teenagers to fall down the elevator shaft.[47] Madrid, Spain
2 0 2002-08-23 A temporary elevator fell 19 floors at an office tower under construction.[48] New York City, New York, U.S.
2 0 1999-05-13 An elevator plunged four or five floors at a warehouse, killing two maintenance workers who were trying to take the elevator out of service.[49] South Kearny, New Jersey, U.S.

Other notable accidents[edit]

  • On 14 December 1883, in one of the earliest documented elevator accidents, a 15-year-old boy was decapitated by an elevator at a furniture warehouse in Baltimore, Maryland.[50]
  • On 20 May 1905, three elevator accidents occurred in New York City within the span of a few hours, killing two men and one woman.[51]
  • On 28 July 1945, a U.S. Army plane crashed into the Empire State Building in New York City, causing an elevator to fall 75 stories (more than 300 meter or 1,000 feet). Elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver was injured but survived. It remains the Guinness World Record for the longest fall survived in an elevator.[52]
  • On 20 July 1973, former Australian member of parliament Dugald Munro was crushed to death in an elevator accident, aged 43. He was trapped between the lift cage and door in a building in Bridge Street, Sydney, and was unable to be freed.[53]
  • In October 1999, a brief power dip caused an elevator to stop between the 13th and 14th floors at the McGraw-Hill Building in New York City, trapping Nicholas White, an employee of the building who was going down to take a cigarette break. Despite activating an alarm and the presence of a surveillance camera, nearly 41 hours passed before he was noticed and rescued. Years later, the surveillance video was made public.[54][55]
  • In April 2013, an elevator broke down at Hotel Eden in Bad Gastein, Austria, trapping the owner inside. He was rescued after four days.[56][57]
  • On 14 September 2014, a malfunctioning elevator in Xiamen, China ascended while a Huaqiao University student was getting inside, pinning him between the elevator and the floor of the story above. When Chinese authorities were able to remove him twenty minutes later, he was pronounced dead, apparently having suffocated due to the pull of the elevator against his body.[58][59][60]
  • In March 2016, a woman in her late 30s or early 40s was found starved to death inside an elevator at an apartment building in the Chinese city of Xi’an. She was overlooked when maintenance men returned the elevator to the first floor and took it out of service. When they returned more than a month later, the woman's body was found. It sparked outrage over the apparent negligence and the case was later classified as negligent homicide. At least one person was detained.[61]
  • On 16 November 2018, an elevator plunged 84 floors (95th floor to 11th floor) at the 100-story John Hancock Center in Chicago, but no one was injured.[62]
  • On 22 August 2019, a 30-year-old man was crushed to death at an apartment building in New York City when the elevator which he was trying to exit suddenly gave way. Five other people were trapped in the elevator and were later rescued by firefighters. One man had exited the elevator just before it gave way.[63][64]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Elevators were disaster within disaster". USA Today. 4 September 2002.
  2. ^ "As Many As 100 Feared Dead in Gold Mine Accident". Associated Press. 11 May 1995.
  3. ^ "Vaal Reefs". Minerals Council South Africa.
  4. ^ "Mine Disaster Toll Could be 62". Associated Press. 2 September 1987.
  5. ^ "St Helena". Minerals Council South Africa.
  6. ^ "19 workers in Wuhan killed after elevator plunges 100m". Global Times. 14 September 2012.
  7. ^ "Lift Crashes". Australian Cable Service. 15 October 1932.
  8. ^ "Lancashire Pit Disaster". Pathé News. 13 October 1932.
  9. ^ "Memorial unveiled at Markham ceremony". ITV News. 30 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Twelve dead in Fujian elevator accident". Macau Daily Times. 31 October 2008. Archived from the original on April 26, 2019.
  11. ^ 1993年6月2日北角籠笠意外12死(無線)1 [June 2, 1993: Nakasa, North Point died 12 accidentally (wireless) 1], retrieved 2020-06-14
  12. ^ "11 die as elevator cable snaps at work site in north China". Associated Press. 25 April 2019.
  13. ^ "34 killed, 6 injured in mining accidents". Ukrainian Journal. 31 July 2011.
  14. ^ "18 Doden In Roergebied" [18 killed in Ruhr area]. De Telegraaf. 28 March 1964.
  15. ^ "10 people killed in Istanbul elevator accident". Associated Press. 7 September 2014.
  16. ^ "Nove operários morrem em queda de elevador" [Nine workers die in elevator crash]. BNews. 9 August 2011.
  17. ^ "Brown Shoe Company Elevator Accident". The Decatur Herald. 13 January 1904.
  18. ^ "Nine Boys and A Man Fall Down Shaft". Ken Zimmerman Jr. 30 January 2014.
  19. ^ "8 killed after construction elevator falls in east China". Associated Press. 17 July 2016.
  20. ^ "Siete muertos en un hospital de Barcelona al caer al vacío el ascensor en que viajaban" [Seven dead in a Barcelona hospital when the elevator in which they were traveling fell into the void]. El País. 22 May 1989.
  21. ^ 6 killed on New Year's Eve as elevator crashes in India
  22. ^ Elevator at industrialist’s farmhouse drops 70 feet, kills him and 5 relatives
  23. ^ Six Members Of A Family Died In Lift Collapse In Indore
  24. ^ "6 dead as elevator plummets at construction site in Iran". Khaleej Times. 5 September 2018.
  25. ^ "6 miners killed in mine-shaft elevator accident in northeastern Myanmar". Xinhua. 5 January 2017.
  26. ^ "6 killed as elevator collapses in Pakistan's Karachi". Xinhua. 10 March 2019.
  27. ^ "5 Killed As Jax Elevator Crashes". The Orlando Sentinel. 20 March 1957.
  28. ^ "Four Killed When Lift Falls". Reuters. 21 March 1957.
  29. ^ "5 Workers Killed in Elevator Crash at Construction Site". Yonhap News Agency. 7 September 1999.
  30. ^ "Five workers die after fall from elevator at east China construction site". Macau Daily Times. 4 April 2009.
  31. ^ "Sears Tower Fire Kills 4 Working in Elevator Shaft". New York Times. 12 April 1973.
  32. ^ "Donnelly Building Elevator Crash Kills Four". The Minneapolis Journal. 23 May 1903.
  33. ^ "Donnelly Building Elevator Crash was the Result of Overloading". Pittsburgh Press. 9 July 1903.
  34. ^ "Lift Cage Falls 800 Feet". The Morning Bulletin. 20 April 1938.
  35. ^ "A Wool Warehouse Accident". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. 26 March 1909.
  36. ^ "4 workers dead after lift falls in Cambodia's hotel building". Xinhua. 4 September 2018.
  37. ^ "4 Killed Near Cabramurra". The Canberra Times. 17 April 1958.
  38. ^ "Quatro pessoas morrem após elevador despencar do nono andar de prédio em Santos" [Four people die after elevator collapses from the ninth floor of a building in Santos]. O Globo (in Portuguese). 2019-12-30. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  39. ^ "3 Killed, 7 Injured in Tunnel Elevator". New York Times. 7 September 1932.
  40. ^ "Three killed, three hurt in elevator crash at construction site". Yonhap News Agency. 14 August 2019.
  41. ^ "Frightful accident caused by the fall of an elevator in a St. Louis boiler factory". The Daily Huronite. 15 March 1892.
  42. ^ "Elevator falls 10 stories; two killed, 16 injured". New York Times. 30 August 1920.
  43. ^ "Fatal Elevator Fall". New York Times. 4 October 1902.
  44. ^ "Two Of 12 Women Injured In Me. Elevator Drop Are Dead". Associated Press. 12 December 1946.
  45. ^ "Two Killed And Six Injured in Accident In Chicago Store". Indiana Democrat. 7 September 1904.
  46. ^ Fireworks suspected cause of fatal Arnhem fire
  47. ^ "2 teenagers killed in fall as elevator floor gives way in Madrid building". EFE. 9 May 2017.
  48. ^ "2 Workers Die at Construction Site When Elevator Plunges 19 Floors". New York Times. 24 August 2002.
  49. ^ "Elevator Plunge Kills 2 Workmen". New York Times. 14 May 1999.
  50. ^ "Decapitated By An Elevator". New York Times. 15 December 1883.
  51. ^ "Two Men And Woman Killed in Elevators". New York Times. 21 May 1905.
  52. ^ "Longest fall survived in a lift (elevator)". Guinness World Records.
  53. ^ "Former MP dies in lift". The Canberra Times. 21 June 1973.
  54. ^ "The Big City; Aftermath Of 40 Hours In an Elevator". New York Times. 28 October 1999.
  55. ^ "Footage of a Man Who Spent Forty-One Hours Trapped in an Elevator". YouTube. The New Yorker. 14 April 2008.
  56. ^ "Hotel owner trapped in lift for four days". The Local. 20 April 2013.
  57. ^ "Man stuck in an elevator for four days without food or water". Digital Spy. 22 April 2013.
  58. ^ "Chinese Student Crushed to Death by Malfunctioning Elevator". chinaSMACK. 2014-09-17. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  59. ^ "华侨大学一名学生被卡教学楼电梯窒息死亡,事发厦门校区" [A student of Huaqiao University was suffocated by the elevator of the card teaching building and the accident occurred in Xiamen Campus]. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  60. ^ "11 people held for making fake lifts". 2014-11-18. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  61. ^ "Chinese woman trapped for a month in an elevator starves to death". Los Angeles Times. 6 March 2016.
  62. ^ "Elevator at one of Chicago's tallest skyscrapers plunges 84 floors after hoist rope breaks". CBS News. 19 November 2018.
  63. ^ "New York man crushed to death by elevator at apartment building". CNN. 2019-08-22.
  64. ^ "Graphic video shows moment man crushed by elevator at Manhattan Promenade building". New York Post. 2019-08-22.