Man killed in elevator accident at Manhattan high-rise

The car moved as the man was getting off the elevator, and he became trapped, an FDNY official said.

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By Phil Helsel

A 30-year-old man was killed in an elevator accident in New York City on Thursday morning after he became trapped when the car shifted while he attempted to exit, officials said.

The incident occurred just before 8:30 a.m. in a high-rise building known as the Manhattan Promenade in Kips Bay, on the east side of Manhattan, NBC New York reported.

Officers were called to an elevator rescue, and the man, identified as Samuel Charles Waisbren, was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical service personnel, the New York Police Department told the station. The medical examiner's office will determine the official cause of death.

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"The elevator hit the lobby. People were trying to exit, and as he was exiting, the car moved, trapping the patient," said New York City Fire Department Deputy Chief Anthony Arpaia.

Crews attempted to take apart pieces of the elevator while the man was trapped against the wall of the elevator shaft between the first floor and basement, according to NBC New York.

Six other people were on the elevator, but no other injuries were reported.

The New York City Department of Buildings said in a statement to NBC New York that it is "investigating this incident aggressively and will take all appropriate enforcement actions."

The department said that "elevators are the safest form of travel in New York, due to the city’s stringent inspection and safety requirements" and that "we're determined to find out what went wrong at this building and seek ways to prevent incidents like this."

The building had been cited for an elevator problem in May, and residents said the elevators had previously malfunctioned, the station reported.

"There’s always elevator issues in this building," including elevators getting stuck, resident Dayna Sargen, who lives on the eighth floor, told reporters after the incident. She said issues should have been addressed sooner, and “a life could have been saved.”

Waisbren's father, Dr. Charles Waisbren told NBC New York in a phone interview that the accident illustrates a disregard for safety. The family is "absolutely devastated," he said.

"Sam was a delightful, smart, very, very sensitive young man with a million friends," he said.