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Woman's Spine Breaks After Illegal Elevator Plunges 4 Stories, City Says

DNA Info - April 15, 2017

by Shaye Weaver

SUTTON PLACE — The elevator that plunged four stories with a woman inside, leaving her with a broken spine and several other fractures, had been illegally installed about 70 years ago, city officials said.

The elevator dropped into the basement of 19 Sutton Place, near Sutton Square, on Wednesday with a 62-year-old woman inside, according to the FDNY and NYPD.

She was conscious when emergency personnel arrived, but was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in serious condition, the FDNY said.

The woman, who the New York Post described as a live-in nanny, suffered fractures to her spine and several other lower body parts, police said.

After an inspection at the site that day, Department of Building officials discovered that the elevator had been installed sometime in the 1940s and had not been registered with the agency, the DOB said.

The agency ordered the building's residents to stop using it for the time being and a violation was issued.

"They need to make necessary repairs and register the elevator with the department before they can continue using it," said DOB spokesman Alexander Schnell. "Going forward they'll have to file annual inspection reports."

A complaint about a "defective" elevator was made in 2005, though inspectors were unable to access it at the time, building records show.

The four-story building was constructed in 1899, records show.

The building's owner could not be reached for comment.