Areej Ali, a 6-week-old baby, fell eight stories down after her stroller plunged down an elevator shaft in New York, NY Daily News is reporting. The Brooklyn building had been slammed with complaints about maintenance violations before the tragedy occurred.
Mother and child had plunged down an open elevator shaft as the doors opened on the 23rd floor of Sea Rise apartments around 10:30 a.m. The Brooklyn infant's mother did not know that the elevator was stuck between floors. The little baby and her mother had tumbled on top of the elevator car.
The weight of mother and child forced the elevator to nose-dive downwards to the 17th floor, when first respondents rushed them both to hospital, the baby was pronounced dead by doctors.
A visibly shaken firefighter who helped to pull the child out of the elevator shaft said "it's not something I'm going to forget."
Salah Ali, the infant's grandfather said he was pained by the tragedy that could have been easily avoided and confirmed that his daughter was emotionally traumatized by the ordeal.
"I can't believe…she died in the hospital…she breaks my heart…that was my grandchild…the mom is in bad shape.The controversial building has been hit with over 20 complaints over dilapidated elevators since January, 2015, the most recent just last month. According to city records, the Brooklyn building currently has 50 open building violations.
"She's in the hospital…she's injured…she breaks my heart…that was my grandchild."
Police said the particular elevator, which is being maintained by the Centennial Elevator Company, was recently put out of service. However, a spokesman for the police said it remained unconfirmed if someone was working on the lift Thursday, when the tragedy occurred.
Resident Elaina Feliciano, a 33-year-old mother, said she feared for her son, Jaden, after hearing of the baby's death. The bus matron and mother of four kids said the elevator was a deathtrap despite being fixed many times.
"This always happens in this building -- they come in to fix the elevator and a week later it's broken again. I have a two-year-old. I have to look out for him."
A neighbor, Harold Noel, who lives next door to the Ali family said he had taken the same elevator that morning the 6-week old baby died. The 37-year-old father said the elevator was shaky when he used it.
"It was a little shaky. I thought it was because of the construction going on. My wife called me and said,' Our neighbor fell down the elevator.' Nobody trusts those elevators…everybody is scared to take that elevator…my mom almost died in that elevator years ago."In a September complaint, it was noted that "the elevator was not working." Another complaint lodged on September 30 said another elevator was out. In the summer, one elevator was used by construction workers to haul construction material.
A January 24 complaint had warned of a tragedy in the offing because the Brooklyn building was home to senior citizens and people with special needs who use wheelchairs.
"There are many seniors and a few in wheelchairs, making it impossible for them to get into their apartments."Last year, a 2-year-old boy, Da'Mir Holmes, amazingly survived a fall from a three-story building. The toddler had fallen from the building and landed on a patch of grass. The boy's mother had left the child for a moment in the bedroom, and the boy had pushed open a window which had no child guards and plummeted down below. Stunned witnesses recall the boy lying in the patch of grass for awhile before getting up and crying.
A hospital confirmed that his injuries were not life-threatening.
The mother of the boy had complained to the landlord about the lack of child guards on the window for years.
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