Wisconsin man killed in New York City elevator accident

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NEW YORK CITY (WKOW) — A UW-Madison graduate and Wisconsin native is dead following an elevator accident in New York City.

Investigators say two other people had just gotten off of a downtown Manhattan elevator when Samuel Waisbren, of Fox Point, tried to exit as well. That’s when the elevator suddenly dropped, crushing him between the elevator car and the shaft wall.

It happened around 8:30 Thursday morning.

Three people standing behind Waisbren watched in horror and then were trapped in the basement as firefighters worked to rescue them.

Authorities say Waisbren lived in the building, but he’s originally from Fox Point, Wisconsin and went to high school in Glendale.

His social media pages show he graduated in 2012 from UW-Madison with a degree in English and had worked for WYOU Community Television in Madison while he was a student.

Waisbren’s father lives in Milwaukee and is heartbroken and angry.

“I think the minimum they could do is provide a safe environment for these people who go out there and live in these fancy buildings,” he said. “It wasn’t a four story walk-up. It was a fancy, New York building… You know, I’m heartbroken he’s not going to be able to father a child and have a family. We’re absolutely devastated.”

This isn’t the first time there have been issues with this elevator.

Records show the elevator had 16 violations issued by the Department of Buildings in New York between 2017 and 2018.

Other building residents say it’s been a constant problem.

“There’s been many, many issues with the elevators not working,” said Dayna Sargen, who lives in the building. “There’s obviously never been an issue to this level, but the elevators tend to have many, many problems.”

In a statement, the Department of Buildings says,

“The Department of Buildings is investigating this incident aggressively and will take all appropriate enforcement actions. Elevators are the safest form of travel in New York, due to the city’s stringent inspection and safety requirements.”

Waisbren was just 30 years old.

Andrew Merica

Andrew Merica

Reporter/Producer, 27 News

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