A teenager has died after the elevator she was in suddenly shot up 30 floors.
On Sunday evening in the Ankang Jinhaiwan District of Zhanjiang City, China, the girl became stuck in the elevator on the first floor of an apartment block. She called for help from friends and family, Chinese news outlet The Paper reports.
Shortly afterward, a maintenance team arrived on the scene, where they opened the external elevator doors, and saw that the elevator inside was slowly sliding upwards. Several colleagues were immediately rushed to the upper floors of the building, when the car suddenly launched upwards at high speed.
The car hit the top of the 30th floor, causing it to become "deformed", and staff attempted to rescue the passenger. Emergency services worked for an hour to free the girl inside before taking her to hospital, where she died of her injuries, Newsweek reports.
Jia Gong, former deputy head of the Zhanjiang Labor Safety and Health Inspection Station, told The Paper that people generally fear elevators falling downwards, but it's much more likely that the elevator would hit the top floor (though this is still very unlikely).
It is believed that when the brake lever snapped in two, the counterbalance shot down the elevator shaft, causing the elevator to rocket upwards.
A quick explanation of counterweights.
The elevator had been installed in 2014 and was subject to regular inspections according to the Zhanjiang Special Inspection Institute. However, the safety inspections did not include strength and safety testing of the elevator brake rods according to Jia Gong, as the brakes are believed in the industry to be able to withstand huge amounts of force. Inspections instead tend to focus on braking force and brake release gap of the brake.
Following his inspection of the scene, he believes that the accident was the result of a manufacturing defect, but an official investigation is underway to determine the cause.
“I have never encountered an elevator rod breakage," Gong told The Paper. "The probability of this happening in the industry is extremely small. It is unprecedented."