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New York is scene of recent bizarre and deadly elevator incidents

December 18, 2011 |  8:44 am

Elevator deaths in New York

New York was the scene last week of two bizarre and deadly elevator incidents, and charges were filed there in another incident two years ago that left an elevator rider severely injured.

On Wednesday, a woman in Manhattan was killed when she was pinned between an elevator car and the wall of the elevator shaft as the car suddenly rose.

On Saturday, a Brooklyn woman died after being sprayed with a flammable liquid and set on fire inside an elevator car, according to media reports.

In between, an elevator mechanic was charged Thursday with felony assault in a Christmas Day 2010 incident in which a woman was dragged for eight floors with her leg trapped between the car and the shaft. 

A man was being questioned in Saturday's attack in which a Molotov cocktail was used to set a woman on fire, according to NY1. Police said the man walked into an NYPD station Sunday morning smelling strongly of gasoline and turned himself in. 

Images of the man released by police Saturday showed him wearing white gloves and what appeared to be a white dust mask atop his head.

Elevator mechanic Jason Jordan was charged in a 2010 incident in which a woman reportedly was dragged, floor after floor, with her leg trapped in an elevator at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Her leg was "mangled from about mid-thigh to her foot," Gothamist reported at the time.

Prosecutors allege that the mechanic was at fault for taking a "shortcut" to fix a problem in the elevator, the New York Daily News reports.

In Wednesday's gruesome elevator death, the Los Angeles Times reports, a 41-year-old woman was trapped after she stepped into an elevator in a Madison Avenue building. The car suddenly rose, pinning her against the elevator shaft.   

As The Times noted, elevator accidents can be deadly but are rare, with about 27 people dying each year in the U.S. from such accidents, according to the Consumer Watch database, which monitors news about product safety issues. Altogether, U.S. elevators make about 18 billion passenger trips per year.

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-- Amy Hubbard+

 Photo: Emergency personnel gather outside the site of a fatal elevator accident in Manhattan on Wednesday. Credit: Seth Wenig / Associated Press

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