Elevator Freefall

A modern elevator freefall is extremely unlikely

Weird Fact: It’s virtually impossible to die in an elevator freefall.

All modern elevators have no less than four separate cables, a braking system in the elevator itself, and a back-up braking system in the shaft. So a lot of things would have to go wrong in order for the car to plummet to the ground floor – and hit.

The longest elevator freefall ever recorded was in 1945, when fog caused a B-25 Mitchell bomber plane to crash into the Empire State Building. All the load-bearing cables were weakened and severed. Elevator attendant Betty Lou Oliver got the fright of her life as she plummeted 75 floors towards the basement.

Fortunately, the one thousand feet of cables fell to the bottom of the shaft and cushioned her impact. The rapid compression of air in the shaft also probably slowed her descent. She did not even have the modern day emergency brakes which would have prevented an impact.

Nevertheless, despite serious injuries Betty survived the massive elevator freefall…