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Construction Worker Killed After Falling Down UWS Elevator Shaft, FDNY Says

By  Aidan Gardiner and Emily Frost | January 21, 2015 10:03am 

 A man fell down a shaft inside the brownstone, which is being renovated. 
Elevator Shaft Accident at 130 W. 70th St.
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MANHATTAN — A construction worker was killed after plunging down an elevator shaft in an Upper West Side brownstone building undergoing renovations Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The victim, Frank Dragotta, 61, of Morganville, N.J., was found unconscious on the first floor of 130 W. 70th St., near Broadway, police said. Dragotta was the construction manager of the site, the building owner said. 

He had been observing work being done on the building, which is owned by hedge fund manager and noted philanthropist Roy Niederhoffer, when he fell one story down the shaft and struck his head on concrete, the NYPD said.

Dragotta had reached for the guard rail that had previously been there, but it had been removed and he slipped and fell, a DOB spokesman said. 

Dragotta was taken to St. Luke's Hospital and later pronounced dead, officials said.

His construction company, the Dragotta Group, was hit with a Department of Building violation for removing the guard rail, officials said. 

The four-story landmarked brownstone building was purchased in October 2014 for $10 million by Niederhoffer.

The building is undergoing a large renovation that will add a four-story rear addition and a one-story rooftop addition, according to Landmarks Preservation Commission documents. 

"Frank was not just a talented professional but also a close family friend, and my whole family is heartbroken by his loss. Our thoughts are with his family during this terrible time," Niederhoffer said in an email. 

The Dragotta Group and the project's architect, Francis C. Klein and Associates, both declined to comment.