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Elevator Cable Snaps in N.Y. Building

Two office workers sustained minor injuries when an Empire State Building elevator plunged 400 feet.

Two office workers at the Empire State Building in New York City experienced a frightening workplace hazard when the elevator they were aboard plunged 40 stories.

A safety system finally stopped the car on the fourth floor and the passengers were not seriously hurt.

"I thought I was going to die," Shameka Peterson said. "It was going really, really fast."

Peterson and Joe Masoraca, who work in different offices on the 44th floor, boarded the elevator Monday afternoon and pressed a button for the lobby.

"It just plunged," Peterson told the New York Post. "It was like a bungee fall. It was terrifying."

The elevator dropped about 400 feet before the safety system caught it and slowed it to a stop on the fourth floor. The elevator services the lobby and floors 41 through 55, so there was no way to exit.

Masoraca called for help on the elevator telephone.

Maintenance workers rode up in an adjacent elevator, pried open an emergency hatch and guided the pair across a beam to safety.

Peterson was treated for neck and shoulder pain and released from a hospital Masoraca has made an appointment to see a doctor.

The elevator plunge was caused by a sheared compensating cable, which adjusts the weight of the car, building spokesman Howard Rubenstein said. The elevator passed an inspection May 19, he said.

All 64 elevators in the landmark have been scheduled for inspections this week.

The 102-story building at the corner of Fifth Ave. and 34th St. opened in 1931.

It handles millions of tourists each year and thousands of people work inside.

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