At Harry S. Truman High School in Co-Op City in New York, sophomore Jason Ford fell three stories to the basement of the school after being slammed into a closed set of elevator doors, which opened unexpectedly. Ford had been messing around with a friend between his classes.
Police said the bottom of the doors came off their track, veered inward, and Ford fell into the shaft, hitting an elevator at the second floor.
Witnesses told police that the boy Ford was roughhousing with had tried to hold on to him as he fell into the shaft.
Police said Ford was transferred to the Jacobi Medical Center, where he is being treated for severe head injuries and is listed in critical condition.
The other Truman student, a junior whose name has not been released, was taken to Our Lady of Mercy Center in the Bronx with minor scratches.
“It appears that the force of the boy’s slamming into the elevator doors caused them to open,” said Benjamin Tucker, the school system’s safety director. “The doors are held in place by wheels at the top and bottom, like subway doors. The mechanism that holds the doors – the jibs – snapped.”
The doors were last inspected in December 2001. The elevator is a Westinghouse Gearless Traction Machine and is about thirty years old. Since the incident, all seven of the school’s elevators have been inspected.
“There are no violations from the most recent inspection and we have no record of complaints about this elevator,” said Ilyse Fink, a spokeswoman for the City Buildings Department.
The elevator appeared to be in fair condition, according to inspectors from the building department.
“There are many questions to be answered on how doors on an elevator in a public school were able to be pushed open,” said Adolfo Carrion Jr., the Bronx borough president.