Boy rescued after elevator mishap

May 12, 2009 3:01:53 PM PDT
A 7-year-old boy is recovering after he got stuck hanging upside down at the bottom of an elevator.On Monday afternoon, Milton Apolinaris asked his mom if he could play with a neighbor in the building next door. Minutes later, she heard the most terrible scream.

Milton's brother, 5-year-old Benny Ortiz, says he cried and yelled for help when his big brother got stuck in the elevator.

Benny says the elevator at 710 Hunts Point Avenue went berserk, jerking Milton around.

Milton's mother says when the elevator got stuck between the second and third floor, her son tried to pry the door open. His foot someone how got caught between the car and the floor. He was flipped over and was left dangling.

Neighbors rushed over to help Milton and made sure he didn't fall three stories, while they waited for firefighters, police and paramedics.

After stabilizing the elevator, firefighters formed a human chain to keep Milton from falling down the shaft.

"I told my firemen to grab our belts, so that we wouldn't fall into the shaft," said Lieutenant Raymond Arcos, of Engine 94. "And that none of the pedestrians tried to push us in while trying to help."

Firefighters freed Milton's foot and pulled him to safety.

He is in the intensive care unit at Lincoln Hospital with bruises, cuts and a broken leg.

Now that her son is doing much better, his mother wants to how this could have happened?

Records show neighbors filed a complaint last summer, saying a kid was hurt when the elevator didn't stop and went all the way to the basement.

Then, in late June, the buildings department posted a violation after neighbor complained the elevator hadn't worked in a week.

Last October, there was another violation for defective and exposed electrical wiring.

Milton's mother wonders why nothing was done?

The Department of Buildings says it appears the elevator in the building was "improperly repaired" two weeks ago, which caused the two doors to go out of sync. The elevator has a swinging door that is operated manually. Normally, when that door opens, the horizontal door opens automatically and closes in the same manner. Because of the improper repairs, the horizontal door would move regardless of whether the swing door was open. The elevator would also start moving before the doors were closed.

In this case, authorities believe the horizontal door started moving while Milton was entering the elevator. His ankle got stuck in the door, and the elevator started to move, trapping him in the shaft.

Officials have taken the elevator out of service.

Violations were issued to the owner of the building, 710 Hunts Point Equities LLC, and the elevator repair company, Imperial Elevator Corp, for failing to maintain the elevator.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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