Elevator repair worker dies after falling 7 stories down shaft

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GUTTENBERG, N.J. — Federal authorities are investigating the death of an elevator repair worker who fell seven stories down a shaft in northern New Jersey.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) spokeswoman Leni Fortson says it happened Tuesday at the Galaxy Towers in Guttenberg. The condominium complex is composed of three octagonal towers that each rise 415 feet over the banks of the Hudson River.

OSHA says the worker was employed by Slade Elevator, which has offices in Mountainside and New York City, and was performing routine annual maintenance when he fell seven stories to his death.

"They're new elevators. I can't imagine. I have no idea what happened. They just replaced all the elevators," said Paul Carter, a 20-year resident of Galaxy Towers.

Investigators said he was the only employee at the job site when the accident happened.

The worker's name has not been released.

"It's tragic. It's terrible," said one resident in the area.

A representative of Slade Industries Inc. released this statement on behalf of the company:

"Slade Industries, Inc. is very saddened to hear of the accident at Galaxy Towers in Guttenberg, NJ this morning. We extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of our employee involved in the accident.

"The cause of the accident is not yet known, and company experts are working with local authorities to determine what happened. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

Associated Press contributed to this report.