NYC Elevator Death Can Trigger Fear in People With Phobias


Elevator Phobia Easily Treated, Say Doctors

No one dies of a panic attack, he said, and cognitive behavioral therapies are 80 to 90 percent effective. "You gradually confront the things you are afraid of," he said.

As for Davidson, he admits he is not totally comfortable with elevators, especially because he was trapped twice again at a prestigious department store in New York City, where facilities can be older.

Records for the Madison Avenue property showed 56 violations of New York City's building code involving some of the building's 13 elevators, dating back to 2001. The last citation occurred in 2009, and all of the complaints are listed as resolved by the city Buildings Department. reports that about 27 people are killed in elevator accidents per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. About 10,000 people every year are injured because of elevators.

In one of the worst cases of entrapment, 34-year-old Nicholas White was stuck for 41 hours in the McGraw Hill building in New York City in 2008. He spent an entire weekend in the elevator, and video surveillance captured White circling the small box, banging on its walls.

"After a certain amount of time, I knew I was in big trouble," White told "Good Morning America" in an exclusive interview at the time.

He had no watch, no cellphone, no food or water. His only sustenance was a pack of Rolaids. At one point, White thought he might die of dehydration.

He pried the doors open at one point and was able to urinate. He lay on the floor, sweating, most the two days, trying to stay calm.

Davidson was luckier: He was rescued after a grueling 10 minutes.

One woman on the elevator whipped out her cellphone, and although she was scolded by the guard, the call went through to security.

Officials were able to pry the doors open and all stepped out for their day in court.

"I am cautious and it still makes me nervous," he said. "Especially if I am in a big elevator with a lot of people in a crowded office building."

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