Distressing new details emerge of professor's elevator death

Ash Cant
·2-min read

New details have emerged surrounding a university lecturer’s death who died in an elevator tragedy.

Investigators have revealed there were no mechanical issues with the elevator.

In September, Carrie O'Connor was loading luggage into the elevator at her new rental apartment when she was crushed to death, in Allston, in the US state of Massachusetts.

According to a new report from the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Inspections released on Friday (local time), Ms O’Connor may have triggered a switch in elevator while moving a box which was more than two metres long and 35kg, NBC Boston reported.

The elevator was then able to move while the gate was open, trapping Ms O’Connor.

Pictured is Carrie O'Connor, the woman who was crushed in an elevator, and on the right is a picture from the scene where she died with the package jutting out of the carriage.
Carrie O'Connor (left) died after falling through an elevator shaft and being crushed by the lift, while she was moving a heavy package (right). Source: Boston University via CNN/Boston 25 News

The bird cage-style elevator requires the gate to be manually closed by the occupant, once it is closed the switch which Ms O’Connor may have pressed, lets the equipment know the elevator can move.

The report seen by NBC Boston said the elevator had been called to the building’s basement, so when the package Ms O’Connor was moving triggered the switch, the elevator began moving down the shaft.

In a video seen by the inspector, Ms O’Connor disappears from view when she falls backwards into the shaft. She was found trapped between the elevator shaft and the elevator.

Ms O’Connor died of traumatic asphyxia, CBS Boston reported.

Records showed the elevator was last inspected on March 26 and management were given 60 days to fix a stop switch.

A photo of the scene at Carrie O'Connor's apartment building surrounded by emergency services after her death.
Ms O'Connor died in September this year when she was moving into a new apartment. Source: WCVB

A Boston University colleague of Ms O’Connor’s has remembered her as professional, generous, kind and funny.

“She was the kind of colleague that you could trust so deeply and she made our jobs easier and more enjoyable with her steady presence and collaboration,” Katherine Lakin-Schultz said in September.

“She was incredibly professional, generous with her time and ideas, smart, stalwart, kind and funny. She was such a bright light among us and we are heartbroken that her time here was cut so very short.”

A tenant in the building, Leanne Scorzoni, described the ordeal as “horrifying”, explaining she heard Ms O’Connor.

“It wasn't even a cry. I can't even describe what it was,” Ms Scorzoni told WBZ.

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