Atlanta Student Killed in Horrific Elevator Accident

Witnesses say football player was trapped when it went into free-fall
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2021 5:30 PM CDT

A student athlete in Atlanta was killed in a horrific accident involving an elevator that was apparently long overdue for inspection. Witnesses say three Champion Prep Academy football players boarded the elevator in an upper floor of an apartment building on their way to practice Tuesday afternoon, CBS 46 reports. The witnesses say the elevator seemed to fall before opening normally on the third floor, where two players were able to get out. The third, however, ended up crushed and trapped when the elevator started free-falling. " His feet were moving at first. Then it stopped," one teammate says. "He went unconscious." The fire department says the student was trapped between the second and third floors when the elevator collapsed, 11 Alive reports.

The department says he had a "faint pulse" during the hour it took to extricate him, but he went into cardiac arrest and died at the nearby Atlanta Medical Center. The mixed-use building includes student housing for Champion Prep, which has a sports program for students hoping to earn college scholarships. The academy says the deceased student was from Missouri. A student provided CBS 46 with a photo of an inspection certificate saying the elevator was last inspected in August 2019 and was due for inspection in August 2020. She said she took the photo in July this year as evidence in case there was an accident.

A n official with the state insurance commissioner's office tells 11 Alive that inspectors are investigating the accident. The official says the elevator's operating permit expired last year. A building manager, however, issued a statement saying that the elevator was not due for a five-year inspection until 2024. He said the building changed ownership in late 2020, after the most recent annual inspection. The manager, apparently contradicting witnesses, said the "domino effect of events leading to the unfortunate death of this young man" started when 16 students entered the elevator, pushing it far over its weight capacity. (More Atlanta stories.)

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