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24 October 2006


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Ray from MN

That is a sad story about what happened at OSU.

I sent a freight elevator down from the third floor of a small warehouse to the basement once. We had 5500 pounds of paper on a 4,000 pound capacity elevator.

I was relatively new and working for a printing company at the time.

In freight elevators there are no walls by the gates so you can see the movement. I sensed we were going fast, but wasn't quite sure. But when we passed the first floor without even an attempt at stopping, I knew we were in trouble.

Quickly I decided that the smart thing to do would be to jump as high as I could before we hit bottom. So I jumped as we pased the basement level. And we hit with a loud crash that shook the whole building (they tell me. I don't recall hearing any noise).

Fortunately, we had evenly balanced the load (not through diligence, but blind luck) and there was relatively minor damage (about $800) since the elevator didn't twist as it fell. The damage was to the springs on the base and the metal framework there.

Neither the truck driver who "rode down" with me nor I was hurt. We weren't going that fast, maybe twice as fast as normal, but not "free fall."

As someone who no doubt has studied a lot of physics, was "jumping" a proper strategy for me? Most people laughed at me when I told them what I did.

I thought it would delay my landing and perhaps soften it.

I was not fired. The worst part was that we had to hand unload 5500 pounds of paper from the elevator car and carry it up the stairs to the loading dock, restack it and then send it over to the main building for printing.

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I think I read something somewhere about this

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