Man trapped in high-rise elevator shares rescue story
MIAMI (WSVN) -- One of four men who were trapped inside a South Florida high-rise elevator for hours is sharing his story with 7News.
Marvin Zapata was headed to lunch on Tuesday when he ended up trapped in an elevator at the Southeast Financial tower in Downtown Miami for three hours. "We were going down then the elevator started to shake," said Zapata.
Zapata and three other men braced themselves for what would happen next. "It stopped shaking and went fast, then I heard a noise," said Zapata.
The noise was the sound of the emergency brakes followed by a sudden drop. The men were trapped near the 15th floor. "I thought 20 minutes, I'll wait 20 minutes and I'll be free," Zapata said.
Twenty minutes turned into three hours. "The technician checked, and they said, 'We can do,'" Zapata said.
The elevator was an express elevator with service to higher floors. The men were stuck with no access doors on the level they were stuck at.
Zapata said it was more then one hour before someone decided to call 911. As rescuers evaluated the situation, Zapata could not stop thinking about his wife and how mad she would be after he disappeared for hours. "I was all dirty. My shirt was all dirty, and I said, 'Hey, take me a picture with the rescuers because my wife would think I was with some woman,'" said Zapata.
Zapata's wife saw the pictures of the incredible rescue at the hands of Miami Fire Rescue Department.
The four men climbed a ladder out of the elevator car then crossed a bridge made of ladders to a working elevator parked at the same level. "You had to jump something then lower your head ... wow!" said Zapata.
The working elevator took the men to safety. Zapata said, "I said, 'Thanks to all of you guys, see you, I have to go and eat something because I'm really hungry.'"
The company that manages the building released a statement that read in part: "The property management team followed safety protocol, worked with on-site elevator controllers to address the situation and with local authorities to assist passengers as they were transferred safely from the elevator."
Miami Fire Rescue said no one needed medical attention. Everyone made it out of the elevator safely.
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