Many people possess a fear of flying, despite widespread reports that airplanes are one of the safest ways to travel. For one unfortunate traveler, however, the airport proved to be zone of true danger and the site or a recent fatal accident.
Early Friday morning at Tampa International Airport, maintenance workers responded to a report that one of the elevators was not working. In attempting to determine the source of the problem, they discovered the body of a 31-year-old Pennsylvania man. An inspection of the elevator shaft revealed a broken lock on the seventh floor, where the man’s carry-on luggage was found. The man and his girlfriend left Pittsburgh and had a layover in Georgia before arriving in Tampa.
Though no formal accusations have been made, reports state that on March 18 and inspector for the State of Florida wrote of a potentially dangerous deficiency on the elevator’s 7th floor hoistway doors. Airport police have stated they believe the man pried the doors open with his hands, though early reports are not yet definitive.
The situation could lead to a wrongful death suit, though no such action has yet been reported. In a wrongful death lawsuit, a plaintiff (often with the help of an experienced attorney) usually needs to prove negligence caused the victim’s death. A person or company is negligent if they owed a legal duty to the public, the failed to fulfill that duty and that failure caused the injury.
It is unclear what if any legal action will be taken by the man’s family. One can only hope that this unfortunate accident leads to greater actions that prevent such tragedies in the future.
Source: ABC Action News, “Body found in airport elevator shaft: Tampa International (TPA) elevator door was ‘compromised’,” Jacqueline Ingles, March 20 , 2013