Maintenance work was the likely culprit in the elevator accident that killed an advertising executive in Midtown last month, a city official said on Monday.
Suzanne Hart, 41, a director of new business and content at Y&R, formerly Young & Rubicam, was killed Dec. 14 when the elevator she was stepping into lurched upward, partly pinning her in the elevator shaft. According to Robert LiMandri, the commissioner of the Buildings Department, work by repairmen from the maintenance company, Transel Elevator, was likely a contributing cause, or the cause, of the accident, based on the investigation so far.
“We know that there was work being done right before the unfortunate event, and we do believe that is a contributing cause, or the cause,” Mr. LiMandri said in an interview after a mayoral news conference at a construction site in Long Island City, Queens. “We know for sure that those events directly before this unfortunate accident clearly are part of our investigation.”
Mr. LiMandri said the buildings department had investigated 650 other elevators citywide, including ones owned or maintained by Transel, and that while the agency spotted violations, the Dec. 14 accident appeared to be a singular event. The elevator sweep was the biggest in the city’s history, city officials said.
“We’ve written some violations but nothing out of the ordinary that we would be very concerned about,” said Mr. LiMandri. “It is an isolated incident.”
There are about 60,000 elevators in New York City, and there were 53 accidents last year. The Manhattan district attorney’s office has also been involved in the investigation, but no charges have been filed.