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Report: Here's How Woman Died in 'Ungodly' Accident

Massachusetts inspectors take a closer look
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2020 4:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Inspectors are casting fresh light on a horrible accident that claimed a woman's life in Boston last month, the Boston Globe reports. According to a state report, 38-year-old Carrie O'Connor plunged into an elevator shaft while lugging an oversized package on the first floor. She was moving into a new apartment, per WHDH, when a resident helped her by opening the grate of the "bird cage"-style elevator. But as O'Connor maneuvered the heavy, 7 1/2-foot-tall package toward the elevator, it hit the car gate switch indicating the grate was closed—just after a maintenance person in the basement had hit the call button. So the elevator went down. Wrestling with the box, O'Connor again bumped the gate switch, and again the elevator descended.

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Building video shows O'Connor then vanished from view, suggesting "she had fallen backwards" into the shaft "between the 1st floor and basement floor," the report says. She was found stuck between the wall of the shaft and the elevator; police say she died of traumatic asphyxia, CBS Boston reports. "There is no indication that any malfunction occurred with the elevator," per the report, signed by Inspector Martin Guiod. "It is my conclusion that the elevator was operating as designed." But he notes that the "emergency stop switch was not labeled at the time." O'Connor was a French language lecturer at Boston University. (One resident said she "heard an ungodly scream.")

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