On your list of worst nightmares, where does suddenly-plunging elevator rank?
If not number one, at least in the top five, right?
For Greta Van Susteren, that bad dream suddenly became reality as the car abruptly dropped four floors with no warning at all, then left her and several others trapped between levels with no way out. Lasting 10 frightening minutes, they were finally able to pry the doors open and crawl out.
Incidentally, if a lift is headed uncontrollably to the bottom, the best possible way to survive is to lie flat on the floor.
The incident happened in Hanoi as the Fox News Channel host, Reverend Franklin Graham and several charity workers were headed to the offices of Samaritan’s Purse.
Some of it was filmed, where at one point Reverend Graham quips “if it goes down, I’m going up”:
After escaping, they used the stairs, even though they were on the 24th floor.
Van Susteren later described what happened:
We had just reached the 24th floor when the elevator stopped for no apparent reason….then jerked and jerked…and falling and jerking …and falling and jerking until it stopped. We were all quite rattled as we did not know if it would continue to fall and we had no idea if the cable holding the elevator car was broken and if there were any back up system (this is an oldish building in Vietnam.)
One of us pulled the door apart only for all of us to see the worst — just a solid cement wall. That was really bad news. Then the elevator car started to slip further down and of course we had no idea where that was headed — I feared we were going to break loose and go all the way down which would have been a certain death for all of us. As the elevator car slid down, we made calls and tried pushing all the buttons on the panel.
Suddenly, one of our group noticed some light and pulled the doors open again and this time we had about a 2 foot crawl space. We made a mad scramble to get out and drop to the floor (the 24th). Franklin later told me he feared the elevator would drop again as one of us was getting out which would have meant a certain death for that person. We all made it safely out….walked up the steps to our original destination of floor 32….and then when we left, none of us took the elevator. We walked down 32 flights.
Thankfully, everyone was unhurt, but the outcome could have been quite different.
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