Teen killed in fall down elevator shaft at abandoned hospital in Port Chester

PORT CHESTER, New York (WABC) -- A teen died after he fell through the roof of an abandoned hospital into an elevator shaft Tuesday night.

The 14-year-old boy has been identified as Chris Aguilar, a student at Port Chester High School.

He was pulled from the bottom of an elevator shaft at the former New York United Hospital Center in Port Chester.

Police initially received a 911 call around 9 p.m. from shoppers at a strip mall across the street about a group of teenagers on the roof of the abandoned hospital.

When officers responded to the building and went to the rear of the property, they found three 14- to 16-year-old boys who frantically told them their friend had fallen through a hole in the roof.

According to the Port Chester Police Department, officers went inside the building, climbed to the roof and helped the boys to safety, while other officers tried to find the victim.

Police said the rescue was hampered by debris in the building and difficulty identifying exactly where the victim had fallen.

"It became a very difficult and perilous rescue effort that took approximately two hours," said Port Chester Police Chief Richard Conway.

The teen, who dropped 60 feet down the shaft, was found around 10:40 p.m. and taken to Greenwich Hospital, where he later died.

Aguilar was an honor student who just wrapped up his freshman year at Port Chester High School.

"We had lunch together and he would sit next to us and make us laugh," said a friend, Astrid Mejia. "He was always sweet and always smiled at us."

The building, on Boston Post Road, has been abandoned for more than a decade.

The Port Chester Police Department Detective Bureau is investigating. It is unclear whether a security guard was patrolling the area Tuesday night.

The abandoned former United Hospital has been vacant for 12 years. The 15-acre property was purchased in 2006 by Starwood Capital, and has been the subject of numerous redevelopment proposals which have been met with community resistance.

In the meantime the shuttered building has become a source of dangerous curiosity.

"It's a common thing for some people to go there and see what the hospital was like or just hang around there because they think it's cool," said Vanessa Vasquez, a friend of the victim.

"Knock it down so that something like this, you would think they would knock it down so it doesn't happen again," said Port Chester resident Anthony Pizzarello.

It is unclear whether the building will come down. A spokesman for the ownership group would only say it is cooperating with the village.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Port Chester police at (914) 939-1000.
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