The Manhattan man who was tragically crushed to death by a malfunctioning elevator died of blunt force injuries to his neck and torso, the city Medical Examiner’s Officer ruled on Friday.
Sam Waisbren, 30, who died while trying to exit the elevator and into the lobby of Manhattan Promenade tower when it suddenly fell, trapping him between the wall and the elevator shaft on Thursday morning, also suffered ‘mechanical asphyxia’.
The terrifying incident occurred at 8:15am Thursday in the luxury apartment building located on East 25th Street and Third Avenue.
On Friday, officials from the city Department of Investigation said they were investigating the tech executives’ death, but would not elaborate any further on the focus of their probe.
According to the department’s website, the DOI is responsible for ‘investigating and referring for criminal prosecution cases of fraud, corruption and other illegal activities by City employees, contractors and others who do business with the City.’
Samuel Waisbren, 30, died while trying to exit the elevator at the lobby of his Manhattan apartment building when it suddenly fell, trapping him between the wall and the elevator shaft
Samuel originally hailed from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and had lived in New York City for five years
Other residents of Manhattan Promenade (pictured) had also complained about the elevators. Manhattan Promenade was fined nearly $1,300 in May after inspectors found that a ‘safety feature on one of the elevators was either tampered with or disabled’
Footage from the horrific moment, which was obtained by the New York Post, shows one man barely escaping the elevator ahead of Samuel.
Five other residents were still inside the elevator when it went hurtling downward and dragging Samuel with it.
The residents in the elevator weren’t injured, but they did have to wait to be rescued by firefighters.
Shortly after Samuel’s death, a resident called New York City’s 311 information number to file a complaint about the elevator with the Department of Buildings (DOB).
‘A resident was killed in the elevator. Every other week someone is getting stuck in the elevator,’ the complaint reads. ‘Customer states that the elevator shakes really bad.’
Inspectors from the DOB were at scene taking a look at the elevator on Friday. They will work to determine whether the occurrence was ‘a one off’ or if action needs to be taken to inspect elevators citywide.
The elevator that killed Waisbren was installed in 1997 and has no history of safety-related violations.
Shortly after Samuel’s death, a resident called New York City’s 311 information number to file a complaint about the elevator with the Department of Buildings (DOB). ‘A resident was killed in the elevator. Every other week someone is getting stuck in the elevator,’ the complaint reads. ‘Customer states that the elevator shakes really bad’
However residents of Manhattan Promenade have long since been complaining about the elevators, according to ABC7 reporter CeFaan Kim.
On his Twitter account, Kim quoted one resident as saying there was ‘constant issues with the elevators’.
‘Super scary. They always jump between floors. It’s like that Halloween horror nights thing that hops up and down,’ the resident reportedly said.
Other residents are now taking the stairs because they were too traumatized by Samuel’s death.
Some residents said they have had to walk up 16 flights of stairs following the accident.
‘My husband and I walked up 16 flights, but we’ve done it before,’ one resident told WCBS 880.
Another resident named Sonya, said tenants have been complaining about the elevators often stopping between floors, wobbling, and doors not fully shutting.
‘They’re both messed up. They’ve been messed up,’ Sonya told the station.
‘I’ve lived here for two years and they’ve been messed up for years and I know people have complained, and then, they’ve been shut down for a while and nothing really changes.’
Earlier on Friday, Samuel’s father, Dr Charles Waisbren, told Good Morning America that his son had complained about the elevator service before.
‘One of the elevators was always out of service and he was frustrated by it. I know the other tenants were frustrated by it and we thought it was ridiculous,’ his father said.
Dr Charles Waisbren (pictured), Samuel’s father, said his son had complained about the elevator service and it was ‘ridiculous’ it hadn’t been fixed
Samuel (second from right) was crushed to death Thursday morning when the elevator he was exiting suddenly dropped and plunged toward’s the building’s basement
Firefighters were seen looking down the elevator shaft following the incident at 344 Third Avenue
Samuel had moved to New York from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, about five years ago, according to his father.
‘We sent him out there to find fame and fortune, which he did,’ Waisbren said, adding that his son ‘loved New York’.
‘He did well, he was living in a fancy New York building. The elevator had a myriad of problems for many, many years. Obviously it’s a horrible tragedy,’ he told GMA.
‘He is not going to be able to be a father, have a family and live the life we all hoped for him,’ he added.
His father also told The New York Daily News late Thursday night: ‘My feeling about New York is you pay a bazillion dollars for rent, the least they could do is provide safety,’ Charles Waisbren stated.
‘Sam was an absolutely wonderful young man. He had his whole life ahead of him,’ his father added.
It’s unclear how long he had been residing at Manhattan Promenade – the luxury residential building where one-bedroom apartments lease for $3,600 per month.
Manhattan Promenade in the Gramercy area was fined nearly $1,300 in May after inspectors found that a ‘safety feature on the other elevator in the building was either tampered with or disabled’.
The safety feature, known as a door zone restrictor, stops an elevator door from opening more ‘than a few inches when an elevator in between floors’.
City records did not show that it had been fixed, according to The New York Times.
The building has two elevators for tenants, and management had been ordered to stop using the one which had safety issues until it was fixed, the publication reports.
Manhattan Promenade was fined an additional $1,500 on Thursday for failing to fix the problem. That fine wasn’t related to the accident that killed Samuel.
Samuel (left) is pictured with members of his family. His devastated father, Charles, is seen at the far right
A building inspector told the newspaper that Samuel was not on the elevator that had been the subject of the fine, but on a second elevator.
The upmarket apartment complex has reportedly had ’17 past building violations, none of them for elevator issues’.
Sources told the Post on Friday that the city Department of Investigation is probing the elevator accident.
After the horrific accident, FDNY Deputy Chief Anthony Arpaia revealed the gruesome details of the incident.
Samuel was exiting the elevator at the lobby-level when the car dropped toward the basement, causing him to become stuck between the elevator car and the shaft wall on the first floor.
Arpaia said Samuel ‘was sort of stuck between the first floor and basement’ and he said some of the other passengers were left in the car as it made its descent.
Samuel was pronounced dead at the scene by the city’s Medical Examiner, an FDNY spokesman told DailyMail.com.
The Manhattan Promenade is described as a ’23-story luxury rental apartment building’ in the Gramercy area. It was built in 1997 and contains 188 residential and commercial units
The official cause of death has not been revealed, but it is understood that the elevator reportedly left the man trapped between the elevator car and a wall within the elevator shaft
A building employee told the Times that Samuel tried to put his hand out to prevent the door from closing as the elevator went down.
‘Like jumping out of a car if it’s still moving,’ the employee said.
Samuel’s death will be investigated by police and the Department of Buildings which were at the scene to establish the cause.
A Department of Buildings spokesman told DailyMail.com: ‘DOB 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.
‘We’re determined to find out what went wrong at this building and seek ways to prevent incidents like this in the future.’
The Manhattan Promenade is described as a ’23-story luxury rental apartment building’ in the Gramercy area.
It was built in 1997 and contains 188 residential and commercial units, according to a description on StreetEasy.