Man falls down elevator shaft; woman breaks his fall

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Location of Frankfurt in dark blue.
Image: Andreas Trepte.

Police reported on Monday, that a man in Frankfurt, Germany is recovering after he fell 25 feet down an elevator shaft early Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m. CEST (UTC+2), and survived. According to authorities, the only reason why the man is alive is because he landed on top of a woman who had fallen down the same shaft just one day earlier.

27-year-old Jens Wilhelms, who was not injured in the fall, was walking up a dark stairwell, passing by the elevator shaft which was undergoing repairs. When he peeked inside the open doors to see what was going on, he slipped off the edge.

"I saw the door open and I just wanted to check whether somebody was finally working on the elevator. I took a closer look inside the shaft as it was pitch black, and must have slipped off the edge somehow," said Wilhelms to the media.

Approximately 24 hours prior to Wilhelms' fall, an unidentified 57-year-old woman fell down the same shaft and was laying unconscious on the shaft's floor, bleeding internally.

Authorities say that although the woman sustained additional injuries from Wilhelms' fall, he likely saved her life.

"When Wilhelms fell down on her his weight caused additional damage to her body, but without that she could have laid there for days. The woman had been lying unconscious in the shaft for some time already," said Manfred Vonhausen, a spokesman for the Frankfurt Police Department.

The woman remains in a hospital where she is in critical condition.