Man Plunges to Death in Elevator Shaft

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A 71-year-old man from Pennsylvania died this week after falling down an elevator shaft at his workplace, law enforcement confirmed. The incident occurred at Andy’s Equipment Exchange, a business dealing in new and used restaurant equipment in Erie, Pennsylvania.

The accident took place on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at approximately 3:54 p.m. Igor Akopyan, a longtime employee of the company, died from multiple blunt force trauma due to the fall, as reported by the Erie County Coroner’s Office.

According to Deputy Coroner John Maloney, Akopyan had a key to open the elevator door. “He opened the door to the elevator, assuming it was there, and it wasn’t,” Maloney told the media. The elevator was on the third floor when Akopyan opened the door and fell from the second floor to the basement.

The 911 call occurred just before 4 p.m., and emergency responders arrived shortly after. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:04 p.m. by Deputy Erie Fire Chief Jeff Carroll, who was also on the scene. Coroner Lyell Cook confirmed the details, adding that Akopyan died instantly due to the severe impact.

The Erie County Coroner’s Office is investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident. The elevator doors were open, but the car was on the floor above when he fell. Investigators are exploring why the elevator was not on the same level and how he ended up in the shaft.

Coroner Lyell Cook confirmed the details of the accident. He noted that while incidents like this are uncommon, they have happened before.

Andy’s Equipment Exchange is located at 959 W. 12th Street in Erie, a three-story brick building constructed in 1922. The building was initially used for hardware and lumber storage. Over the years, the warehouse has seen various uses, with the current business specializing in restaurant equipment.

The Erie County Coroner’s Office has ruled Akopyan’s death an accident. The investigation aims to understand the events that led to the fall. “It was clearly an accident,” Cook reiterated in a release identifying Akopyan.

Elevator safety has become a topic of discussion among residents, with many expressing concerns over similar risks in older buildings.

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