MIAMI – Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava is responding to Local 10 News’ investigation into safety issues at Miami International Airport.
She weighed in after multiple cases of manipulated safety devices on escalators, elevators and moving walkways at Miami International Airport.
“We are satisfied that the inspections have demonstrated that the elevators and escalators are safe at this time,” Levine Cava said. “If it happens again, we’ll inspect again. Of course, safety is number one.”
Luis Colon is the elevator mechanic who, in early 2020, noticed and reported the concerns along with county inspectors. He found more than a dozen so-called jumpers, which is rigged wiring deliberately disabling safety mechanisms like automatic shut downs in the event of a problem.
“It’s a serious situation and I tried to report to everybody because I’m concerned I’m worried about my safety the public’s safety,” Colon said. “Somebody can die because that unit is not going to stop.”
The company Colon works for, Oracle Elevator, suspended him in December.
On Dec. 18 county inspectors discovered yet another jumper, on a moving walkway, disabling the emergency stop.
Oracle Elevator, the company that maintains this equipment at MIA, said the local union is targeting them, a non-union company.
Oracle Elevator said in a statement, “If any unsafe condition is discovered, the unit is immediately shut down, the issue is addressed, and the riding public is not allowed access until the unit is safe...”
Additionally, Local 10 found many expired certificates of operation on moving equipment in the airport, some not updated in several years.
The Miami-Dade County Chief Operations Officer told Local 10 additional safety inspections of equipment earlier this month, “found no safety issues...I’m directing county staff to review all outstanding inspection certifications and make sure they are all brought up to date.”
Most of the elevators Local 10′s Ami Viteri saw had outdated certificates of operation. Local 10 has learned the County’s Office of the Inspector General has opened an investigation into safety issues here at the airport.