Chicago lift fall: Six survive 875 North Michigan Avenue drama

People trapped in a falling lift in the US city of Chicago thought they were going to die as they plummeted 84 floors to the ground.

Six people, including a pregnant woman, fell from the 95th to the 11th floor in a skyscraper formerly known as the John Hancock Center early on Friday morning.

They then texted friends who called the emergency services and they were freed after a three-hour ordeal.

It is believed at least one cable holding the cabin broke.

The group had left a bar on the 95th floor of the building to go down to the lobby.

Jaime Montemayor, 50, who was in the lift with his wife, said he initially felt it going down normally – and then falling.

There was a sudden “clack clack clack” noise and dust began seeping into the cabin.

Those aboard screamed, prayed and cried, reports said.

“I believed we were going to die,” Mr Montemayor, who was visiting from Mexico, said.

Firefighters arrived to rescue those trapped by making an opening in a concrete wall.

“We couldn’t do an elevator-to-elevator rescue. We had to breach a wall on the 11th floor of the parking garage in order to open up the elevator doors,” Chicago Fire Department battalion chief Patrick Maloney told US TV.

The cause of the fall was said to be a failed “hoist rope” and the incident remained under investigation, a City Buildings Department official told the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

It is still unclear how the lift came to a halt without hitting the ground. ABC TV quotes fire officials as saying two cables snapped but there were many others still attached.

The lift that failed had passed its most recent inspection in July, reports say.

The building is the city’s fourth tallest and was renamed earlier this year as 875 North Michigan Avenue.


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