A 41-year-old man was crushed to death by an elevator in Decatur, Alabama on Wednesday evening. Michael 'Dewayne' Atkins, of Russellville, a maintenance worker at the Decatur Morgan Hospital, was pronounced dead on the scene after his body was found wedged between the bottom of a freight elevator and the floor.
Atkins had been working on a sump pump in the elevator shaft with two other employees, according to a report in AL.com. The two other workers went to another part of the hospital and Atkins was alone at the time of the accident.
Atkins was kneeling with his body in the shaft when the elevator suddenly gave way and fell on top of him. The Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn said he died instantly from injuries to his chest and back.
The freight elevator which was located in the loading area of the hospital, not far from the 8th street entrance where the emergency room is located, was only used by employees. It was a hydraulic elevator, so cable failure is not possible.
No one witnessed what is believed to have been an industrial accident and an investigation has been launched by the local police and the Alabama Department of Public Labor to determine the cause of the incident. The state inspections office said the elevator's safety status was up-to-date and there were no serious issues with the elevator reported in the past.
Atkins is survived by his wife of 25 years, Terisa, three children and two grandchildren.
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