Lift plunges 84 floors in Chicago skyscraper after cable snaps

Six people had the scare of their lives on Nov 16, after the lift they were riding in plummeted 84 stories down a skyscraper in Chicago, United States.

According to The Washington Post, the group boarded the express lift in the 100-storey 875 North Michigan Avenue building just after midnight after visiting a restaurant on the 95th floor.

But they soon realised that it was descending way too fast. A cable had snapped.

"It was bumpy like an incoming flight to Chicago," described one passenger to Chicago Tribune. The lift passed all its usual stops and plunged 84 floors before coming to an abrupt halt somewhere between the 11th to 12th floor.

When the lift finally ended its descent, tourist Jaime Montemayor told CBS Chicago that he heard clacking sounds. Then, dust and debris started to fall into the lift.

"I believed we were going to die," Montemayor said, and added that some of his fellow lift passengers cried while others screamed.

The passengers pressed the emergency button but they remained trapped for the next few hours.

Firefighters had a difficult time rescuing the group as they were stuck in a "blind" shaft, which meant that there was no opening for rescuers could use to get to them.

"We couldn’t do a lift-to-lift rescue. We had to breach a wall on the 11th floor of the parking garage in order to open up the lift doors," Chicago Fire Department Battalion Chief Patrick Maloney told ABC 7 Chicago. The rescue operation was made harder as the snapped cable was on top of the lift.

Photo: Reuters

Nearly three hours later, the team of firefighters finally managed to break through and rescue the six trapped passengers.

While a spokesperson for the Chicago Buildings Department has said that the lift was last inspected in July, the cause of the cable snap is still under investigation. Three lifts in the building are now closed for inspection.

Despite the scare, the group escaped unharmed.

Others caught in lift accidents were not as lucky. Earlier this year, an elderly man in China walked into a lift shaft and fell to his death after his son-in-law opened up the door.