A hotel cleaner in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, was crushed to death in front of her colleague when she stepped into a moving elevator, police said Thursday.
The 63-year-old woman, identified as Toshiko Maeda, was trapped between the floor of the elevator and the ceiling of the floor at the Apa Hotel Kanazawa-Ekimae. "The doors opened and she went to get in, but the cage was still moving up," said a police official. "She stumbled over the rising lift floor and fell."
"The cage kept ascending, trapping her between the ceiling and the elevator floor," the official said, adding a colleague standing behind her witnessed the accident which occurred just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.
Maeda was taken to hospital in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest, where she was confirmed dead a short time later.
The lift's manufacturer, Switzerland-based Schindler, said in a statement it was cooperating with a police probe into the incident, adding the elevator in question was installed in 1998. It said it intends to carry out inspections of all 5,500 of its elevators currently in use in Japan, including 80 of the same model as that involved in Wednesday's incident,
Since 2009, Japanese law has required lifts to be equipped with a brake that prevents them moving when the doors are open.
One of Schindler's lifts was involved in a fatal incident in 2006 when a 16-year-old schoolboy was crushed to death.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said Thursday it will conduct an investigation into the incident to find out why the elevator rose while its door was still open..
Late Thursday, police raided the Nagoya office of Schindler and the elevator maintenance firm.© Japan Today/AFP