A California State University employee was crushed to death in an elevator accident Wednesday on the Long Beach campus.
• A Cal State Long Beach employee got trapped in an elevator when it stopped between floors.
• When she tried to crawl out of the elevator, it suddenly dropped down and crushed her to death.
• Cal/OSHA is investigating the tragic elevator accident.
Cal State Long Beach spokeswoman Toni Beron said 48-year-old Huntington Beach resident Annette Lujan — who had worked in the university’s grants and contracts office for nine years — was trapped in an elevator on the third floor of a building at 6300 State University Drive.
The elevator had gotten stuck between floors and Lujan was trying to crawl out when the elevator suddenly shifted downward and crushed her, Long Beach fire captain Rich Brandt said. She died at the scene.
It took the fire department’s Urban Search and Rescue team more than an hour to hoist the elevator with a rope and pulley system so they could free Lujan’s body, Brandt said.
Dozens of Lujan’s co-workers gathered outside the building. They were visibly upset and were trying to console one another.
The building where the accident took place is 15 to 20 years old, Beron said. It has two elevators, one of which was closed for repairs at the time of the accident.
The building’s only available elevator, which malfunctioned before the fatal accident, had passed an annual safety inspection on April 5 and its safety requirements were up to date, according to Califoria Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) spokesperson Erika Monterroza. Elevators must pass a thorough, four-hour safety inspection each year, Monterroza said.
Brandt said the tragic accident is a reminder for people to never try to climb out of a trapped elevator on their own.
“It’s a mechanical device that’s unforgiving,” he said. “What we ask people to do is remain calm and wait for help to arrive.”
The fatal elevator accident is being investigated by the Long Beach Fire Department, Cal/OSHA, and campus police.
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