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Empire State Building

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98452.  Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:47 am Reply with quote

Did anyone know that in an eery premonition of 9/11, a B-25 bomber flew into the Empire State Building in 1945?

The majority of the plane hit the 79th floor, creating a hole in the building eighteen feet wide and twenty feet high. The plane's high-octane fuel exploded, hurtling flames down the side of the building and inside through hallways and stairwells all the way down to the 75th floor.

99397.  Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:40 pm Reply with quote

Yes, I knew about this. And have loads of other good stuff on ESB - mostly dotted around this site.

I believe that this may be the only occasion in elevator history when all cables holding up a lift have simultaneously snapped, sending the lift plummetting to earth*. Which raises the old chestnut of what the best course of action is in such an eventuality (making your peace with God is probably just about the only rational course of action).

*Note to self, check this out at a later date - did this happen at 9/11?

104042.  Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:26 pm Reply with quote

Sorry, i'll come back and tidy this post up into something tidy, and with references.

But I was astounded to learn that the pole at the top of the Empire State Buildiing is there, not to conduct lightning, as you would think. But was put there to dock Zeppelins.

How cool is that?

Will source that properly tomorrow.

116917.  Wed Nov 15, 2006 6:05 pm Reply with quote

Ok, with true elven punctuality, here's where I read Bunter's Empire State Building nugget, along with the elevator cable factoid.

An often-asked question is, 'Has there even been a case where all elevator ropes were severed, causing an elevator to fall?' The plane crash into the Empire State Building is the only such occurance.


Coincidentally, just two weeks after the 50th anniversary of the B-25 crash, another accident occurred at the Empire State Building. Though far less severe, this most recent incident may be of greater concern to the elevator industry, for reasons behind the elevator crash of September 12, 1995 are still unclear. There were no fatalities, but four occupants slammed into the car ceiling -- receiving head, neck and back injuries when their elevator missed its 80th floor stop and crashed into the top of the shaft.

The other QI point about this elevator crash is that the sole occupant of the lift survived, thanks to

a) the cables below the car falling on the floor and acting as a spring


b) the close-fitting car causing a compression of air below it to cushion the fall.

As far as my note-to-self goes, it does seem that lift cables were severed in the 9/11 attacks.

USA TODAY estimates that at least 200 people died inside World Trade Center elevators, the biggest elevator catastrophe in history. Some people plunged to their deaths after elevator cables were destroyed by the hijacked jets that crashed into the buildings.

Lots more on the WTC elevators in that report.


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