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Father of man killed in Kips Bay elevator speaks out

Posted: 2:25 PM, Aug 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-23 15:19:30-04

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee-area man came to New York to fulfill his dreams. Instead, a freak elevator accident took his life.

Samuel Waisbren died when he was crushed by an elevator inside a Kips Bay building Thursday morning.

Waisbren’s family learned of the news shortly after it happened. They say they are heartbroken by their son’s loss and how it happened.

“I don’t know how you can ever enjoy anything in life again. I just don’t know,” said Charles Waisbren, Samuel’s father, to PIX11 sister station FOX6.

Charles Waisbren says his son’s dream brought him to New York City, and now he’s stuck states away planning to bring his body back home.

“You send someone out to New York City to find fame and fortune, and they don’t provide a safe environment for him. He was living in a fancy building, paying a lot of rent, and basically it killed him,” said Charles Waisbren.

Waisbren, 30, was on the elevator with several other people inside the Manhattan Promenade on Third Avenue in Kips Bay around 8:45 a.m. As he tried to get out of the elevator, video obtained by the New York Post shows Waisbren attempting to exit the elevator when it gives way, lodging him in between the elevator car and shaft wall.

“I know there were a lot of problems with the elevators and I know it’s become a criminal matter, I know there are a lot of issues as far as the safety of that building,” Charles Waisbren said.

The New York Department of Buildings issued 16 violations regarding the elevator from 2017 to 2018, and all of them were dismissed.

The Manhattan Promenade is a mixed-use commercial and residential building on Third Avenue near 25th Street.

In a statement, the Department of Buildings said they are investigating the incident.

“The Department of Buildings is investigating this incident aggressively and will take all appropriate enforcement actions. Elevators are the safest form of travel in New York, due to the city’s stringent inspection and safety requirements. We’re determined to find out what went wrong at this building and seek ways to prevent incidents like this in the future.”

Waisbren went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was one of three siblings. Charles Waisbren’s learned of his son’s death from Samuel’s older brother, who also lives in New York.

“I’m so sad. He won’t be able to father a child and have a family, to grow up and enjoy life. We are just devastated,” Charles Waisbren said.

One other person was able to get off the elevator. Five others were trapped inside in the elevator on the basement level, until firefighters rescued them.

Waisbren’s family said they’re planning a funeral for Sunday.