By Catherine Catoura, Lauren Sennet and Ciara Cummings
ATLANTA (WGCL) — A Champion Prep Academy student is dead after an incident involving an elevator at an apartment building in Atlanta.
Atlanta police confirmed officers responded to assist fire and rescue personnel after reports that a person was trapped and crushed in the elevator Tuesday afternoon. According to police, the officers helped with crowd control.
Witnesses said three football players boarded an elevator on an upper floor of the building at 444 Highland on their way to practice. Soon after boarding, the witnesses said, the elevator felt as though it was beginning to fall before stopping and opening normally on the third floor.
Witnesses told CBS46 two of the three football players exited the elevator immediately; however, before the third player was able to exit, the elevator began free-falling. They said the young man was crushed and trapped between the top of the elevator and the floor of the shaft below for nearly one hour before being recovered.
Officials from Champion Prep Academy — a program that bridges the gap between high school and college for athletes hoping for scholarships — confirmed the student succumbed to his injuries and said his family is traveling from Missouri to Atlanta.
CBS46 will release the student’s name once it’s confirmed by authorities.
CBS46 obtained a photo from a 444 Student Housing resident which shows the elevator appears to be more than a year overdue for an inspection. The resident said she took the photo in July, wanting to keep it in case something ever happened.
The image shows the elevator’s last inspection was August of 2019 and its next inspection, according to the picture, was supposed to be August of 2020.
Champion Prep Academy football players who asked not to be identified told CBS46 that during the ordeal, they were unable to see the top half of their friend’s body because it was crushed in between the gap. Only his bottom half remained dangling, they said.
“I ain’t even got the words,” one teammate said in disbelief. “His feet were moving at first. Then it stopped. He went unconscious.”
Another teammate said, “We all came here for school. I came here three weeks ago, and we instantly clicked, so seeing somebody I’m close with like that, it hurts.”
When CBS46 journalists tried to gather information at the location, security personnel kicked them off the property. Messages requesting a statement on the investigation and allegations of housing issues did not get an immediate response.
This is a developing story, stay with CBS46 for more details as the investigation continues.
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