Child dies after elevator shaft fall

August 19, 2008 4:34:48 PM PDT
A child fell to his death down an elevator shaft in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn this morning. Police believe he may have been stuck in an elevator when he tried to escape, falling to his death.

Five-year-old Jacob Neuman was in the elevator riding with his brother Israel.

Neighbors tell Eyewitness News the brothers were inseparable, and Israel is devastated having watched his brother fall to his death.

"It's unbelievable that noone is doing anything," said one neighbor.

Police say just before 9 a.m. Jacob and Israel left their 11th floor apartment got in the elevator while heading to school.

At some point, police say the elevator stopped, got stuck between the 10th and 11th floors. The doors began shuttering, opening and closing.

Police say Israel then pushed a button, the door opened, Jacob panicked and tried to get out of the car. He crawled through a small space landed on the 10th floor, lost his balance and fell down the shaft.

Neighbors say the elevators are constantly out of order. "Many of the elevators are out on a constant basis. They come in and put on the band-aid, but they really need the overhaul, but there's just no funding for overhauls and that's why this tragedy happened," said Soloman Lieser.

Police say at the time of the accident, the parents were out shopping and a 14-year-old relative was watching the boys.

The New York City Housing Authority released the following statement:
"All of NYCHA joins with the Neuman family as we mourn today's tragic loss of their son, Jacob, at Taylor-Wythe Houses. Our condolences and our prayer are with them. The circumstances of this tragedy are under investigation by a team of agencies including the Housing Authority." ---
STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson
WEB PRODUCED BY: Scott Curkin

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