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9-year-old Utica girl survives 30 foot fall down elevator shaft

Mom says her daughter is recovering after having surgery on Saturday in Syracuse after a fall on Friday 30 feet down an elevator shaft at the Michael Walsh Apartments in Utica.

Posted: Feb 16, 2019 6:16 PM

Utica, N.Y. - A 9-year-old Utica girl is recovering at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse after falling 30 feet down an elevator shaft on Friday.

The girl's mother tells News Channel 2 that her daughter, Alyssa, had surgery on Saturday to repair a badly broken leg. The surgery required a metal plate be put in.

The girl's mother says her daughter also suffered a fractured pelvis, which she says there is no surgery for. She says her daughter is in a lot of pain and her pelvis will have to heal on its own and she'll be in the hospital for a few more days if not longer.

The family wanted to keep their last name private.

This all unfolded around 3:30 Friday afternoon at the Michael Walsh Apartments on Gray Avenue on Utica's west side.

We first told you Friday night that we were told the girl fell 3 feet down the elevator shaft, but on Saturday, it was confirmed with Utica fire officials that it was about a 30 foot drop from where the elevator was stopped at about the third floor, down to where the girl landed in the elevator shaft in the basement level.

Utica Deputy Fire Chief John Kelly says rescuers were easily able to get to the girl and she was immediately rushed to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica and later transferred to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse.

Deputy Chief Kelly says Utica Fire Marshal Gerald Foster was working with Utica Police investigators Friday night on filing a report. Kelly says the incident is still under investigation.

On Saturday, we spoke to the other 9-year-old girl who was in the elevator with Alyssa. This second little girls's mom did not want her daughter's identity to be released, but allowed her to talk to us.

The girl told me that she and her friend Alyssa had gotten on the elevator, as did an adult, in the lobby of the building. She says the adult got off the elevator on the third floor, but the girl says instead of the elevator then stopping on the 4th floor, which she says was pressed, the elevator went up to the sixth floor, which was also pressed, but she says the door didn't open on that 6th floor. She says the elevator then started going up and down and wouldn't stop on a floor so eventually she pushed the stop button. She says once the elevator stopped, she then pushed the open button, the door opened and she jumped across what she now calls a black hole to get out to safety onto the third floor. She then told her friend Alyssa to jump as well, but says Alyssa fell and hit her head and then fell down into the black hole.

The girl ran to get help and the woman who responded says she was fearful for the little girl who was injured down below, "She’s moving herself up from the elevator shaft to lean against the wall to keep from laying on the floor and she was down there crying and scared, it was dark."

That woman also does not want to be identified. She says she fears retaliation by management for talking to us. She does say the elevator has had a long history of problems over the past year and a number people have gotten stuck on the elevator. She says she herself was stuck in the elevator several months ago for about 45 minutes.

She also says on Friday, around 3:10 P.M., she saw an elevator repair person leave the building but she says the elevator still wasn't working so she called management and had a conversation with someone, but she says it appears nothing was done because other people, including the two young girls, got on that very same elevator, which is the only elevator in the building.

We tried contacting the published number for the management at the Michael Walsh Apartments to get a comment on this story but so far have not received a call back.

Utica Police Public Information Officer Bryan Coromato says there is an open report on this case and says police will look into whether there is any responsibility on the part of management and whether any criminal charges could be filed.

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