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Chinese Woman Dies After Being Trapped in Elevator for a Month

The woman, in her 40s, has been identified in news reports only by her surname, Wu

The woman, in her 40s, has been identified in news reports only by her surname, Wu

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BEIGING – Chinese authorities say they have detained an elevator maintenance crew after a woman was found dead inside an elevator that had its power improperly cut off 30 days earlier.

The Gaoling district government in the northwestern city of Xi’an, famed for its ancient entombed terra-cotta warriors said two maintenance workers turned off the power source on Jan. 30 in a residential building after they were called to check on a glitch but that they failed to check if anyone was inside the elevator.

The woman, in her 40s, only identified in news reports only by her surname, Wu, was trapped and forgotten in a broken elevator of her apartment building for more than a month before her body was discovered last week. She had a hand pressed against the door, some accounts said.

She lived alone on the 15th floor of the apartment building, mostly keeping to herself, the reports said, quoting neighbors.

But she has gained posthumous fame as a symbol of how lackadaisical residential management, a widespread complaint in Chinese cities, can become far worse than an inconvenience.

Two repairmen turned off the power of the elevator on Jan. 30, after it malfunctioned, according to the reports, quoting police investigators and district officials. They shouted to check for anyone inside, heard no reply, but failed to follow rules and pry open the doors to make sure. They left the elevator unrepaired for more than 30 days. Ms. Wu’s body was found last Tuesday.

The local district says her death was caused by negligence in a case of involuntary manslaughter.

People from the elevator repair company and the maintenance firm in charge of the faulty elevator were detained by the police, the newspaper Beijing Morning Post said on Monday. It did not give their names.

 

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