A 21-year-old man says he lived his biggest fear when he was inside an elevator when a cable snapped in a downtown Toronto highrise Wednesday evening, prompting a high-angle rappelling rescue.
A Toronto Fire Services spokesperson said firefighters were called to the building on Bloor Street East, near Yonge Street, before 6:45 p.m.
Shawn Lally told Global News when he got on the elevator after leaving his friend’s place on the 34th floor. He said he heard banging noises before the elevator “suddenly dropped.”
“This is my biggest fear… a free fall… in an elevator,” Lally said.
“There was no indication anything was wrong. It is usually clunky but that is all of these elevators.”
Lally said he was in the air for a second before he landed on his knees. He said he called for help “as soon as it crashed down.”
Global News has reached out to Maple Leaf management but has not heard back.
Residents voiced concern over the elevators in the building to Global News.
“We have had ongoing issues with these elevators for years,” said Doug, who told Global News he has lived on the 33rd floor since 1985.
“I hope management gets us some new elevators now.”
As for Lally, the Ryerson student said he suffered minor injuries.
Firefighters had to rappel down to get to where the man was located, harness him up and lift him out of the shaft.
“I was stuck in between two floors and they couldn’t get me out,” Lally said.
“I had to crawl out of the roof and was lifted up about 100 feet… when I got out, I hung onto the firefighters.”
Shortly before 9 p.m., the spokesperson said Lally was retrieved.
“A complex and challenging high angle elevator rescue completed by @Toronto_Fire crews tonight,” Toronto Fire Services Chief Matthew Pegg wrote on Twitter Wednesday evening.
“These are unique technical rescues that require significant specialized training, equipment and expertise. Job very well done by all involved!”
Toronto Fire said the cause of the free fall was due to a snapped cable.
The Technical Standards and Safety Authority was called in to investigate and told Global News the elevator was not in free fall.
“Early reports that the elevator was in free fall are not consistent with the initial information TSSA has gathered up to now,” a statement read.
“Though currently verifying what occurred, TSSA understands that one of five ropes broke and then an emergency brake was deployed.”
Alexandra Campbell, a spokesperson for the TSSA, told Global News the situation “would be very jarring to whomever was inside. The cable snapping would be loud and the braking system could be the reason the person was in the air and fell.”
The TSSA said it could take months to find out the cause of the broken cable.
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