According to authorities, a New York City building’s elevator plunged six stories and killed a worker because an elevator mechanic failed to follow basic safety measures.
In the Bronx building where the two men were working on updating the elevator on February 18, 2021, apprentice mechanic Joseph Rosa, 25, passed away, and mechanic Peter Milatz, 67, was charged with criminally negligent homicide.
Prosecutors claim that Milatz instructed Rosa to descend to the pit at the bottom of the shaft while the two were changing the steel ropes connecting the elevator cabin and the counterweight.
Prosecutors claimed Rosa secured the counterweight on Milatz’s orders and cut the ropes with a tiny saw. Rosa was crushed as the elevator cabin fell down the shaft. Milatz, according to the prosecution, had neglected to follow a practice known as suspending the elevator cabin, which stops the elevator from tumbling when the ropes are severed.
They also claimed that he had earlier changed out the governor, a safety device that activates the elevator’s braking mechanism, for a new one.
Although the replacement didn’t fit, Milatz allegedly continued to work on the elevator without the safety feature rather than reinstalling the old governor, according to the prosecution.
In a news release, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said, “The defendant allegedly disregarded numerous safety protocols, and as a result of those errors, the elevator car plunged six stories, killing his coworker.”
The victim would still be alive today if safety precautions had been taken.
Upstate Orange County resident Milatz was charged in the Bronx’s supreme court and sentenced to supervised release. He must return to court on June 8.
An inquiry for comment was placed on Milatz’s attorney’s phone.
According to the Daily News, Rosa was looking forward to a happy future with his bride, Karina Stepanova-Rosa, who he had married a few months before his passing.
Stepanova-Rosa told the newspaper, “He made my life as beautiful as possible.” He truly brought light into all of our lives. He is the most incredible person I have ever met, and his friends are all completely devastated by this.