CHICAGO - Three hours after plunging 84 floors, six people were freed from a broken elevator in the former John Hancock Center, WBBM reported.
A hoist rope broke just after midnight Friday morning, sending the express elevator filled with guests from the 95th floor Signature Room, to the lobby. It finally stopped on the 11th floor. It stopped because several other hoist ropes remained connected and were able to bring the falling lift to a stop, WBBM reported.
WLS reported that two hoist ropes broke and that the rescue took two hours.
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Now the elevator and two others are closed as crews repair the mechanics and investigators try to figure out what caused the rope to snap.
“At the beginning I believed we were going to die,” Jaime Montemayor told WBBM. “We were going down and then I felt that we were falling down and then I heard a noise -- clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack.”
No one was hurt, but some passengers said it took a while for security to call firefighters, WBBM reported.
Once rescue crews arrived, they had to break a concrete wall in the garage area of the 11th floor, WLS reported.
The elevator was in what is called a “blind shaft” where firefighters didn’t have openings at each floor to get to the trapped riders, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Fire crews drilled a small hole in the wall and used a small camera to look for the elevator to help zero in on the location, the Tribune reported.
Once they broke through fully, crews shored up the elevator to make sure it didn’t fall further. Then they used a small ladder to help those trapped inside to get out, the Tribune reported.
Visitors to the building after the accident had to use freight elevators to get to the top floors, WBBM reported.
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