Who Was Betty Lou Oliver And What Did She Survive?
Betty Lou Oliver was an elevator attendant at the Empire State Building and she survived two major related accidents on the same day!
First when a bomber hit the Empire State Building and then when the elevator that she was in, crashed 80 floors!
What Actually Happened?
Betty Lou Oliver was working on the 80th story of the Empire State building on July 28, 1945.
On that day, due to thick fog a B-25 Mitchell bomber crashed into the north side of the Empire State Building.
The plane struck the 79th floor of the building and Oliver’s car was on the 80th floor.
She was thrown from her car and received severe burns, and her pelvis, back and neck were broken!
"I had just started down from the 80th floor, and then there was a noise above me and then a great block of machinery came through the top of my car".
After treating her injuries, first aid workers put her in an elevator to send her down to the main floor.
But the cables of that elevator had been weakened by the crash, and they broke!
And as a result, Oliver plummeted 75 stories to the basement!
How Did She Survive?
The thousand feet (300 m) of elevator cable had fallen to the bottom of the shaft creating a softer landing surface.
And the rapid compression of the air also likely helped cusion the landing.
* This descent still stands as the Guinness World Record for the longest survived elevator fall ever recorded!
The Right Stuff
Just five months later, Betty Lou Oliver returned with an elevator inspector, who complimented her "guts" in riding the elevators to the full height of the building on that visit.