Man injured when out of control elevator rises 30 floors in 15 seconds, crashes into roof

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Providencia, Chile — A man was seriously injured on Friday when an elevator in Chile malfunctioned, rose rapidly from the first floor to the 31st floor and crashed into the building’s roof, according to multiple media reports.

Surveillance video posted to YouTube on Sunday apparently shows José Vergara Acevedo, 31, entering the elevator on the first floor of a building at Bustamante Community Park in Providencia.

When Acevedo enters, the elevator malfunctions and begins to rise before the elevator doors have closed.

As shown in the surveillance video, the elevator ascends more than 30 floors in 15 seconds, according to BiobioChile.

In the video, Acevedo can be seen attempting to push several buttons on the elevator’s control panel.

After reaching the 31st floor, the elevator crashed into the building’s roof, seriously injuring Acevedo, according to Emol Chile. He reportedly suffered head and leg injuries.

The building was finished just eight months ago, according to Infonews. The elevator was in the Tower B building of the complex.


  • Tom

    This happened to my friend Charlie once. He was in this chocolate factory though and flew out over the city. The owner ended up giving him the factory

  • Rugmeister

    If this ever happens to anyone (and you might not have much time to think about it) but get yourself into a safety position ASAP. Get down and wrap yourself into a tight ball. Better to get a little bruised up and scraped when you bounce around than to break your neck when your head otherwise hits the ceiling.

    Clue #1 something was wrong: The floors can be seen to move before the doors are fully closed. THAT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! IF YOU EVER SEE THAT, YOU *KNOW* SOMETHING IS WRONG. Maybe try pulling the emergency stop button, or whatever else you see but do it really fast and then get down! Duck and cover!

    Clue #2: The doors opened back up while the elevator was moving. If you ever see that, get your butt away from those doors! The elevator has been turned into a human sized meat slicer. Get away from those doors fast! And get down! Duck and cover!

    Clue #3: You should hopefully be ducked and covered by now, but if not, you might see the elevator’s digital floor display go into some kind of an error state. This could be the last thing your living eyes ever see. If the elevator’s moving, GET DOWN! DUCK AND COVER! WHAT’S TAKING YOU SO LONG? YOU WANT A DARWIN AWARD?

    If the elevator’s not moving, and you’re just stuck between floors, the main thing is, don’t panic. If absolutely necessary, you can open both the inside doors and the outside doors by hand. But unless you’re an engineer / geek / MacGyver type, you’re better off waiting a few hours for the professionals to let you out.

    In the very improbable scenario this happens to you over a holiday weekend and neither your cell phone nor the emergency phone are working, AND you’ve already waited long enough to know they aren’t going to find you for a few days, here’s how to get out of a stalled elevator. I mention this PRIMARILY so that in case you are panic prone, you know that you CAN get out by yourself and will be less likely to panic. I have personally used this method, but only after the professionals had arrived, and they asked if I could do it.

    The inside doors can be pried apart with your bare hands, but usually they will stop after a few inches, and won’t easily open nearly far enough for anyone to fit through. This is a safety feature. However if you really put some leverage on prying those doors open, and I mean put your leg up there straight and push with your foot against one door while pulling hard with both hands against the other, leaning back and putting all your strength and weight into it, the doors will snap open with a loud bang and they will suddenly fly all the way open. So be ready for that to happen.

    Then there is the issue of the outer doors. These have a latch, and with the inner doors out of the way, you can access it with your hand, move the lever, and then the outer doors can be rolled open, with just a little effort. Depending on what fraction of a floor number you’re stuck on, this latch may be positioned high or low relative to the elevator cab you’re in. Usually it’s on the left side, as viewed from inside the elevator, and positioned about 5 or 6 feet above the actual floor itself. It’ll have a very simple mechanism keeping the outer doors latched. Basically just raise the lever which slides a rod, and the doors unlatch. Professional elevator men have a special tool they can insert through a small hole in the door, which they then turn to lift this very lever. But they’re operating blind and might not be very fast about fumbling through that particular aspect, as in my case, and the guy outright asked if I could do it for him from inside – which I did.

    Anyway, don’t panic. Duck and cover if the elevator is runaway. If it’s not runaway, just enjoy your misadventure and take mental notes so you can tell your friends about it over beer. And know that Nikola Tesla, arguably the greatest inventive genius of all time, refused to set foot inside electric elevators. Because guess what? He knew exactly how they worked.

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