Woman survives plunge down an elevator shaft

September 01, 1992|By New York Daily News

NEW YORK -- Jose Naranjo was retelling the chilling moment when he saw Rebecca Rosado get into the elevator Saturday night and fall into the darkness.

"Rebecca opened the elevator door and I saw her fall," said Jose, 13, a family friend. "I tried to open the door but I couldn't.

"She was screaming and I felt terrible," he added. "There was nothing I could do."

But Ms. Rosado, who survived the 13-story fall down a housing project elevator shaft, managed to do fine, armed with a fierce will to live, fast hands and a refusal to leave her three daughters motherless.

Authorities yesterday marveled at her survival.

"Miss Rosado should go to church and thank God she's alive," said Dr. Sal Degliuomini, an emergency room doctor at Brooklyn's Maimonides Medical Center. "Falling down 13 stories in an elevator shaft is something no one can survive."

Housing Police Chief Vincent Pizzo said, "It's almost a miracle that lady is alive."

Ms. Rosado, 30, who survived by clutching an elevator cable and thinking of "my three brats," was in stable condition at Bellevue Hospital with broken ankles and cuts and bruises.

She told the Daily News yesterday that she felt achy but wants to get home to her children as soon as possible.

"We spoke on the phone and they asked me where I was," she said. "I told them I was in the hospital and they started crying. I cried.

"I told them I had some boo-boos to take care of," she said. "I miss my little brats."

Ms. Rosado had dropped off her daughters -- 4-year-old twins and a 2-year-old -- at a friend's apartment before falling down the elevator shaft at the lower East Side's Lillian Wald Houses when the doors opened even though the car was not there.

A Housing Authority spokeswoman said yesterday the elevator has been out of service five times since May 25.

Its problems "could be anything to everything . . . ranging from half an hour to 1 1/2 hours like obstruction of a car door," said spokeswoman Jeanne Nathan. She said an investigation was continuing.

She declined to give details of specific repairs or problems with the elevator, which was out of service yesterday.

Ms. Rosado is the first person to fall down a Housing Authority elevator shaft this year, Ms. Nathan said.

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