Over the weekend, six people visiting Chicago's fourth-tallest skyscraper wound up living out a literal goddamn nightmare when their elevator's cables snapped and sent the thing hurtling towards the ground, dropping 84 floors before it finally came to a halt, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The riders—including two college students, a middle-aged married couple, and a pregnant woman—all boarded the death trap late Friday, after an evening at the Signature Lounge on the 95th floor of 875 North Michigan Avenue, formerly known as the John Hancock Center. At first, the elevator just seemed like it was moving a little faster than usual, which wasn't exactly a great sign—though, then again, this was an express elevator, so whatever. Then the ride got "really bumpy," one of the Northwestern University students told the Tribune. "It felt like a flight into Chicago," she said. And that's when everything fully went to shit.
The elevator dropped towards the ground, plummeting downward as floors whizzed by, like the Tower of Terror at Disneyland, only horrifyingly real. Some passengers started screaming and crying, while others said a few frantic, hurried prayers.
"I knew something wasn’t OK," 49-year-old Maña Montemayor said, according to the Tribune. "I thought we were going to die," her husband Jaime added.
But somehow, thankfully, they didn't. After falling nearly 1,000 feet, the elevator ground to a halt near the 11th floor, and the traumatized passengers were able to call the fire department for help. Still, that was far from the end of their awful night—because it took rescuers three goddamn hours to bust them free.
"They couldn’t find us," one of the college students said, according to the Tribune. "We thought we only fell a few floors, but we ended up falling 84."
Firefighters had a hard time locating the elevator, and once they finally did, they were forced to bore a five-by-five-foot hole into the wall of a nearby parking garage to access it.
"It was a pretty precarious situation where we had the cables that were broke were on top of the elevator," Chicago Fire Department Battalion Chief Patrick Maloney added to ABC 7. "We couldn't do an elevator-to-elevator rescue."
Miraculously, none of the six passengers were hurt, aside from whatever deep elevator-related damage they sustained to their psyches. The Chicago Buildings Department is now launching an investigation into how this nightmare could've happened, the Tribune reports. Firefighters finally got the riders out at 3 AM and sent them home, where they presumably changed their soiled pants or whatever, crawled into bed, and hoped against hope that they wouldn't have to relive the whole nightmare in an actual nightmare.
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