Courtesy photoA 67-year-old woman told emergency responders that an elevator suddenly plunged

Courtesy photoA 67-year-old woman told emergency responders that an elevator suddenly plunged

Free-falling elevator injures disabled rider in Belmont

A disabled woman was injured Tuesday when the elevator at her Belmont assisted living facility went into free-fall, public safety officials said.

The accident happened just before 5 p.m., at the Lesley Terrace Senior Living Facility at 2400 Carlmont Drive. The victim, a 67-year-old resident who uses a power wheelchair, told emergency responders that after she entered the elevator on the third floor it started to descend and then suddenly plunged.

The elevator was stopped just before it reached the second floor by the automatic emergency brake system, but the sudden halt threw the woman out of her chair.

Firefighters had to free the woman from the elevator, and she was taken to the hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.

A woman who answered the phone at Lesley Terrace said the manager was not in and employees could not answer questions.

Erika Monterroza, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Industrial Relations, which is responsible for elevator safety, said the building’s three elevators were last inspected in September.

Monterroza said the department was launching an investigation into the faulty elevator.

“We would probably not allow it to be used until we know exactly what happened,” she said.

While news reports have been full of elevator accidents in recent days — a woman was killed at Cal State Long Beach last week and another woman died in an elevator accident in New York on Wednesday — Monterozza said that such incidents were rare.

acrawford@sfexaminer.com

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