It was a tight situation -- literally -- for a Lexus SUV parked on the fifth floor of a parking garage on East 76th Street. It plunged from there to just above the ground floor when the car elevator apparently failed and a parking attendant backed the car into the open elevator shaft.
The SUV ended up locked in tight to the shaft, backward and nose up. It was a dangerous scene, as evidenced by medics rushing the unidentified man who was behind the wheel out and into an ambulance after he was stuck in the car for nearly an hour. Deployed airbags may have saved his life.
"If anything he's lucky," witness Jeremy Koretz told PIX11 News. "It could've been more severe."
"I would say quite lucky," is how Steven Garrity, the battalion chief supervising the more than three dozen EMTs and firefighters who responded described the situation. Medics took another man out of the building as well. He had been in the elevator when the SUV fell on top of it.
"The elevator car was on the first floor, and the automobile landed on top of the elevator," Chief Garrity said after the men were taken to Cornell University Hospital. The chief said that neither man had life-threatening injuries.
As to how the whole situation happened in the first place, "The car went down the shaft whichever direction he was driving in at the time," Chief Garrity said. "It's still under investigation.
No word yet from the owner of the Lexus that the parking attendant was driving, and which took rescue crews an hour to pull out. PIX11 News was told that the SUV's owner has car insurance.