17 years ago on August 12th, 2004
Security guard and elevator operator Carl DeClercq is killed by an elevator malfunction
A freight elevator at 5 Times Square malfunctioned when the elevator's braking system failed and sent the elevator car rocketing upwards into the top of the elevator shaft. As the freight elevator passed a passenger elevator at the 19th floor, both elevator cars shook, temporarily trapping the passengers in the other elevator car, but the freight elevator then was pulled upward. The impact shook the building, also known as the Ernst & Young headquarters, and destroyed the elevator car, instantly killing Carl DeClercq. Officials speculated that it was a problem with the elevator counterweight, which would have dropped to the ground, pulling the elevator car upwards and overcoming the weaker breaking system designed to hold the car in place.
Carl DeClercq was 63 years old and lived in Richmond Hill in Queens. He woke up at 5am to travel into Manhattan and work as a security guard and elevator operator.