Boy, 7, crushed to death by elevator on first day of family vacation hours after arriving at $14k-a-week rental
A TRAGEDY unfolded when a seven-year-old boy was trapped between the elevator doors of his family's luxury vacation home in North Carolina.
Officials said the boy's head and neck were crushed by the elevator, which had an accordion gate inside the outer door of the home elevator.
Emergency responders were called to the vacation home at about 6.40pm Sunday evening in response to a report that a child was trapped in the elevator.
EMS found the boy trapped between the elevator car and the elevator shaft inside the Franklyn Street home in the Corolla Light neighborhood.
The child, who was from Canton, Ohio, could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead at the scene, officials. said.
"It's just such a terrible tragedy," Corolla Fire Chief Rich Shortway said.
It was the first day of the family's vacation at the luxury North Carolina home in Outer Banks, which rents for about $14,000 per week.
The boy's death has been ruled an accident by the Cuttrick County Sheriff's Office, according to the Coastland Times.
"We are not sure exactly how it happened," Cuttrick County Fire-EMS Chief Ralph Melton said.
"The child was entrapped in the doors," Melton went on. "We were able to free him, but his head and neck were crushed by the elevator, and he died as a result of traumatic injuries sustained in the elevator mishap Sunday night."
Melton added that there have been close calls with elevators like this one, but this was the first fatality.
While North Carolina's Department of Labor regulates commercial and public building elevator inspections, private resident elevators are not regulated.
The Washington Post reported that between 1981 and 2019, at least eight children have died and two have been seriously injured by being trapped in an elevator.
Some elevator industry experts insist the number is much higher, the Post found.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued warnings about the "deadly gap between doors of home elevators" and suggested using a space guard or electronic monitoring device to prevent children from getting trapped.
However, when federal regulators pushed for improvements, they faced resistance from elevator manufacturers, who argued the problem was complicated, overblown in some cases, and ultimately not their responsibility.
The CPSC opted not to issue an elevator recall but did publish a safety warning that was distributed to governors nationwide.
"CPSC is aware of several tragic incidents in which children became entrapped between the doors leading to death, serious fractures, traumatic asphyxia, and lifelong injuries,” the agency said in a 2019 warning.
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