A 6-week-old was killed when she and her mother plunged down an empty elevator shaft at a Brooklyn building Thursday, authorities said.
The 21-year-old woman was waiting with the baby in a stroller on the 23rd floor of the Coney Island apartment building around 10:30 a.m, according to the NYPD. When the elevator doors opened, she pushed the stroller inside, but the car was stuck between the 22nd and 23rd floors.
Both the mother and newborn fell a few feet onto the top of the car. The additional weight caused the train car to drop down to the 17th floor, where rescue workers found them.
The infant, later identified as Areej Ali, was pronounced dead at a hospital. The mother was being treated at Coney Island Hospital.
Neighbor Hopeton Stewart heard the agony and fear of the young mother.
"I heard the lady screaming when I was coming up the elevator, I heard her crying and screaming," she said.
The girl's grandfather, Salah Ali, said that the death "breaks my heart."
The NYPD official told NBC 4 New York the elevator was out of service at the time. It's not clear why the doors opened if the elevator was out of service.
A search of Department of Buildings records shows 23 major elevator violations since January of 2013. Problems included broken doors, alarms, emergency phones and exposed lighting.
One renter showed NBC 4 New York a photo of a stuck elevator in recent weeks.
"It's terrible. There have been a lot of problems with the elevators," said a tenant named Diane. "I mean, the elevator jumps, I've gotten stuck in it."
Harold Noel said tht he rode the elevator that morning said it shook as he went up, but he didn't think it would lead to a death later on.