NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—NJTransit Police are investigating how a 36-year-old man fell almost three stories down an elevator shaft at the city's downtown train station at about 5:40am on January 18.
The man, who came from New York City, suffered injuries to his back and was taken to nearby Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) for treatment after he was rescued by the New Brunswick Fire Department (NBFD).
"NJTransit police are still investigating. They're not really sure what happened, but somehow he ended up in the elevator shaft," said Lisa Corbin, a spokesperson for NJTransit.
A report by the Associated Press indicated that "authorities" had said the man was "leaning against the elevator door and it opened."
Until recently, New Brunswick was one of just a handfull on stations not accesible to people with mobility impairments on the Northeast Corridor, the nation's most-utilized passenger rail line. But NJTransit recently spent $2.5 million installing two new elevators in recent years.
However, the elevator in question is not one of the new ones, and was not in service at the time.
New Brunswick firefighters had no choice but to "force entry" into the shaft in order to rescue the victim, according to emergency radio transmissions.
"He's in a void behind the elevator, it's about two and half feet," said one first responder. It took nearly an hour before the rescue was complete.
"He was taken out at about 6:30am and he was taken two Robert Wood Johnson for a back injury," said Lisa Corbin, a spokesperson for NJTransit.
Recently, the New Brunswick train station and its Dunkin Donuts have ceased being open around the clock, in an apparent attempt to deter homeless people from congregating inside the station building.
The result is that many homeless have camped out on the eastbound platform itself.