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Family Rescued After Elevator Plummets Several Stories, FDNY Says

By  Trevor Kapp and Aidan Gardiner | May 15, 2014 11:37am | Updated on May 15, 2014 5:15pm

 Nayeli Nicasio, 12, was in the elevator with her little brother and father when it fell several stories.
Nayeli Nicasio, 12, was in the elevator with her little brother and father when it fell several stories.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

THE BRONX — A 12-year-old girl and two family members were rescued after the elevator they were in plummeted several stories in a University Heights apartment building, officials said.

A mechanical error caused two of the machine's five ropes to snap Thursday morning. The lift came to an abrupt stop when the safety mechanism kicked in, a Department of Buildings spokeswoman said.

Nayeli Nicasio was descending in the elevator from the sixth floor of 2205 Davidson Ave. with her father and 8-year-old brother on their way to Inwood Academy when it dropped about 6:50 a.m., she and officials said. She was trapped for about 25 minutes.

"The elevator went down really fast, faster than usual, then it got stuck. It felt like I was on a roller coaster. It was really scary," Nayeli told DNAinfo with her aunt beside her.

"We were trapped inside."

The cab finally came to a stop between the second and third floors and Nayeli used her cellphone to call 911, she said.

"They asked what the address was and how many people were inside. The firefighters came and they used a light to see if we were OK," the sixth-grader said.

Crews opened the elevator door and hauled the kids through a gap separating the cab from the wall and up to the third floor, Nayeli and the FDNY said. No one needed medical attention, the FDNY said.

An investigation revealed that the elevator sheave — a pulley that holds the ropes in place — malfunctioned causing the hoist ropes to snap, a DOB spokeswoman said.

The DOB issued a cease use order for the elevator and a violation for failure to maintain the lift, she added.

A sign taped to the elevator's door Thursday morning read, "ELVATER OUT OF ORDER!"

"It always gets stuck," Nayeli said.

"They need to fix this. I'm scared to take the elevator now."

The elevator was last inspected on March 24 in order to clear a violation that had been issued on Jan. 21, DOB records show. It was not immediately clear what the violation was for.

The elevator has four open elevator violations from 2013, according to the DOB website.

On April 19, 2013, the building was cited for having no phone in the elevator. Then on Nov. 6, a violation was issued for a fifth-floor elevator door that didn't operate properly.

On Nov. 20, the building was again cited for continuing to allow use of the elevator despite a violation for failing to maintain equipment. And a day later, another violation was issued for not having a proper "maintenance contract with an approved agency."

The building's super declined to comment Thursday. Efforts to locate the owner were unsuccessful.

"People have been complaining about the elevator for years, but they've never done nothing about it. If you tell the super, it's like you didn't tell nobody. He never fixes things," said Nayeli's aunt, Josephine.