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Elevator Drops 84 Floors, Causing Hours-Long Rescue

The passengers were pulled through a wall
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2018 6:30 PM CST
Updated Nov 20, 2018 1:03 AM CST
The Hancock Center, Chicago's fourth tallest building, towers over Michigan Ave.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(Newser) – The unthinkable happened for six visitors to Chicago's fourth tallest skyscraper when a cable snapped, dropping them dozens of stories before becoming trapped in an elevator for nearly three hours. Per the Chicago Tribune, the nightmare unfolded at the skyscraper once known as the Hancock Center on Friday when the guests got on the elevator at the 95th floor. The elevator began dropping faster than expected, says one passenger, "it was really bumpy—it felt like a flight into Chicago." CBS Chicago reports that a hoist rope had broken and the elevator dropped 84 stories before a backup system brought it to a halt on the 11th floor.

While disaster was averted, the rescue operation was far from fast or straightforward. "They couldn’t find us," says another passenger. "We thought we only fell a few floors, but we ended up falling 84." A rescue crew couldn't directly access the elevator from above or from one elevator to another, so they had to break a hole through a garage wall into the elevator shaft, through which the frightened guests were pulled to safety. The elevator had reportedly passed inspection as recently as July, per city records. (Read more elevator stories.)

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