Four people boarded an elevator giving little thought to riding on the lift. The building and elevator in question is located in Omaha, Nebraska. Within seconds after the elevator doors shut, the four young adults experienced the stuff of a horror movie. Flood waters came rushing into the lobby of the building where the elevator was located. The elevator started to rapidly fill up with water, leaving the four people inside the lift in a truly perilous situation.
The four people stuck in the elevator as it filled with flood water were fortunate to have working mobile phones with them. One of the passengers called 911. Another telephoned his roommate who was a maintenance employee for the residential building.
At the rate the elevator was filling with water, the four people would have become completely submerged in a matter of minutes. Fortunately, tenants in the building were alerted to a problem, hearing calls for help coming from the elevator. These tenants were able to pry the elevator doors open, a move which allowed the water to flow from the lift. One of the rescuers was the roommate of one of the people trapped in the elevator, a member of the maintenance team at the building.
The people trapped in the elevator actually swam out of the conveyance into the lobby of the building. The was up to the passengers’ necks by the time the group on the elevator were released.
The four young adults trapped in the elevator as it filled with water reported that they were uninjured. Evidently none of the people in the elevator were in need of immediate medical care or treatment.
Specifics regarding how the elevator began filling with water remain unclear at the moment. In other words, many questions do remain as to what occurred leading up with life-threatening flooding of the Omaha elevator. What is known:
- At the time of the elevator emergency, Omaha, Nebraska was in the midst of heavy rains that were causing flash flooding throughout the community.
- The elevator evidently lacked any drain or mechanism to deal with water that might end up flowing into the lift.
- An argument is being made by some building owners and managers (not involved in the Omaha flooding elevator incident) that the flooding of an elevator cannot be reasonably expected.
- The reality is that elevators have filled with water from time to time as a result of natural events as well as plumbing issues in a building.
- Elevators have also been known to fill with water when a fire breaks out in a building (understanding that people are instructed not to use an elevator in the event of fire).
- A real possibility exists that the people trapped in the elevator filling with water may have demonstrable health issues going forward into the future, including the possibility of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
The owner of the residential building has not released any statement regarding this flooding event associated with the elevator. This includes what steps the owner intends to take to protect against a similar type of situation in the future.
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