Woman Crushed in New York Elevator Accident

PHOTO: Suzanne Hart
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A woman died today when a New York City elevator unexpectedly rose as she was stepping in, crushing her between the elevator and shaft wall.

The victim was identified as 41-year-old Suzanne Hart, the director of New Business, Content and Experience at ad the company Young & Rubicam, according to her LinkedIn page.

Hart was on the first floor and heading to work around 10 a.m. at 285 Madison Ave., between 40th and 41st streets. The doors closed on the Hart as she entered the elevator and it pulled her upward into the shaft.

Two other passengers in the elevator - -a 36-year-old woman and an Asian man -- are being treated for trauma after witnessing the horrific accident.

The cause of the elevator malfunction was not immediately determined.

Elevator inspection records from the Department of Buildings indicate that the elevator was last inspected on June 16, 2011.

The records show 56 violations of the 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.

The Department of Buildings could not comment on the records.

Madison Avenue used to be the location of many of New York's most prominent advertising agencies. The building where the accident occurred houses Young & Rubicam, a division of major ad company WPP PLC.

WPP PLC owns 285 Madison Ave., where the accident happened.

Most agencies have moved out of the area and Young & Rubicam is scheduled to relocate to Columbus Circle in 2013.

A similar accident occured in California last week when a woman was crushed to death trying to escape a stuck elevator at California State University in Long Beach, according to ABC News' Los Angeles affiliate KABC.

The elevator was stuck between floors when the woman, identified as 48-year-old university employee Annette Lujan, attempted to climb out when the doors opened. The elevator dropped as she was trying to climb out, pressing her between the elevator and the shaft, according to KABC.

ConsumerWatch.com 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 due to elevators.

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