7-year-old boy dies after being crushed in North Carolina home elevator

Family was on first day of vacation in the Outer Banks when tragedy struck

Credit: File Photo

Credit: File Photo

A boy from Ohio died last weekend after he became trapped between an elevator car and the elevator shaft inside a vacation rental home on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, authorities said.

The accident happened Saturday night — the same day that the family arrived to begin a beach vacation and three days after federal regulators sued another major elevator manufacturer to fix a similar safety hazard that fails to prevent children from accessing the small space between two elevator doors.

The inner door is attached to the elevator car, while the outer door remains on the floor landing as the elevator car ascends. A child can become trapped in the few inches between both doors as both doors lock and then be crushed when the elevator comes back down.

The elevator industry has known about the particular danger for decades yet has resisted calls to make simple safety improvements, according to a 2019 Washington Post investigation.

Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted 3-1 to file suit against ThyssenKrupp Access, part of German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp, whose elevators have been tied to one child’s death and another child’s serious injury, the Post reported this week. The CPSC wants the company to launch a recall effort to inspect and fix all of its residential elevators.

Authorities said the elevator involved in Saturday’s accident was manufactured by Custom Elevator Manufacturing Inc., based in Plumsteadville, Pennsylvania, the Post reported.

Currituck Fire-EMS Chief Ralph Melton said emergency workers were sent to a home in Corolla on Sunday evening and arrived to find a 7-year-old boy without a pulse and trapped by the elevator, news outlets reported. Melton said rescuers were able to quickly free the child but were unable to resuscitate him.

Melton would only say the boy was from Canton, Ohio, but he provided no additional details.

While the N.C. Department of Labor is responsible for inspections of elevators in commercial and public buildings, the department does not have the statutory authority to inspect private residence elevators, according to department spokeswoman Jennifer Haigwood.

“If an accident happened in or around a private residence elevator, there is no requirement to report that accident to us,” Haigwood said.

The accident remains under investigation.

ArLuther Lee of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.