Tampa International Airport elevator shaft death ruled an accident

TAMPA - The death of a man who fell into an elevator shaft at Tampa International Airport in March has been ruled an accident by the county Medical Examiner.

According to the report, 31- year-old Chad Wolfe "suffered complete dislocation of cerviical vertibre 5 & 6, with spinal cord laceration due to blunt impact to head and neck."

Investigators have determined that shortly after midnight on the 15th, Wolfe entered an elevator on the third floor of the main terminal that stopped on the seventh floor of the Short Term Parking Garage.

Later, Wolfe apparently forced open the elevator door to gain entry.  He fell and landed on top of the elevator.

Inspection of the elevator shaft where Wolfe was found dead revealed a broken lock on the seventh floor door.

The State of Florida inspection report, dated March 18, said the failure posed an 'imminent' danger of falling.

Inspectors wrote, "Hoistway Door Locking Device failed to keep the hoistway door locked. During inspection the 7th floor hoistway doors opened when pulling doors in the open direction by hand. This poses an imminent danger to the riding public of falling, crushing and shearing."

Maintenance workers discovered the victim around 10:00 a.m., after reports that another elevator, adjacent to the one Chad took, had stopped functioning.

An empty prescription bottle was found with Wolfe.  Toxicology results are still pending to determine if drugs or alcohol may have played a role in the accident.

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