National Hotel in Miami – Elevator fell 7+ floors, One guest injured.
My wife and I are here in Miami for a good friend’s wedding and we are staying at their chosen hotel – the National Hotel in Miami. Needless to say we’ve been having a wonderful time sharing this event with our friends and their family. Overall the hotel is very nice and looks to be well maintained. Our room is a tad small but ultimately we’re not spending much time in the room.
Last night the whole wedding party was meeting at Mango’s Tropical Cafe and identification was required. My wife, the groom’s brother, and myself got in the elevator and went up to the 10th floor so my wife could grab her ID. After grabbing her identification we left the room and proceeded to hail an elevator to our floor.
The elevator arrived after a short bit and we entered the elevator and pressed the lobby button so that we could meet the rest of the wedding party and head over to the cafe together. The elevator stopped on the 9th floor – one level below where we got onto the elevator. At this point 5 men and one woman entered the elevator. The total number of individuals in the elevator at this point is 9.
The doors shut as normal and the elevator began to travel downward at a normal rate until the 7th floor at which point the elevator began to fall at a much higher rate of speed than normal. The elevator did almost stop at the lobby and the doors opened about half way – enough for one man to jump out. Then the doors closed and we proceeded to free fall to the basement. Overall the elevator fell from the 7th floor to the lobby and then proceeded to fall to the basement. I have to wonder what would have happened if the elevator didn’t at least try to stop at the lobby. The free fall could have definitely injured all of us extensively if not killed some of us.
Once we were trapped at the bottom everybody in the elevator began to panic. We were pressing the alarm and call buttons and some people decided to try to open the top panel of the elevator which then fell injuring one of the occupants. It’s my understanding they needed at least one stitch. Pictured in this post is the individual and his injury.
The elevator at no point indicated that there was any issue. The buzzer did not go off and the doors did not stay open which is what I have seen happen several times in other places when an elevator became overloaded. The brakes on the elevator at no point engaged to stop the elevator from falling.
Two different managers here at the hotel has told me that the elevator was overloaded. The elevator’s posted limit is 2,000 pounds. I’ll be honest – I’m pushing 250 myself, however, everybody else in that elevator was skinnier than myself – if they weren’t we’d not have fit as the elevator is tiny. With 9 individuals we would have to have weighed an average of 222 pounds and I can tell you beyond any shadow of a doubt that this was not the case.
Now take it a step further – say that it was overloaded – why did the brakes not engage? Why did the elevator proceed to let us fall as though nothing were wrong? I was told by one manager the ‘sensor’ on the elevator indicated that it was overloaded – so the solution is to simply allow it to continue operating? This can’t be how the elevator is supposed to operate.
Management has apologized profusely and offered to give us free breakfast two days. While this is a nice move it does feel like more should be happening considering the gravity of the situation. They are moving us to a lower floor as my wife refuses to use the elevators, and I don’t blame her. Last night we had the pleasure of climbing 10 flights of stairs while intoxicated which was ‘fun.’
I am not trying to be a jerk here but when your guests have a potentially deadly incident occur inside of your elevators you should probably do more than offer free breakfast. In the event that somebody does wish to reach out to me concerning this incident – my name is Michael Denney and we were in room 1011 with a check-in of Friday, July 31, 2015.