How Do You Really Survive an Elevator Accident?

The state of the universe.
July 30 2014 11:49 AM

The Truth About Elevator Deaths

They are vanishingly rare—but that doesn’t stop people from debating the best way to survive a sudden fall. 

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Picture taken on May 3, 2012 of the elevator shaft at the Pre-Columbian and Indian Art Museum (MAPI) in Montevideo where, in a false mezzanine accessed only via this place (C), workers fixing the elevator found packages of documents apparently put there when the building housed the Ministry of Defence -- which worked here until the end of the Uruguayan military dictatorship (1973-1984). The documents were handed to the Monitoring Department of the Uruguayan Peace Commission which investigates cases of violations to human rights during the military regime. AFP PHOTO/Pablo PORCIUNCULA (Photo credit should read PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/GettyImages)

Photo by PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/GettyImages

Each year, fewer than 30 Americans die in elevator accidents​, making them among the rarest causes of accidental death. But elevator anxiety is very real, inspiring movies, TV shows, and spirited debates about the best way to survive a sudden plunge.

Rachel Stewart is an editor who lives in Philadelphia. Check out her work here.

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