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Official report on elevator technician’s death reveals startling information

A medical examiner’s report revealed how 28-year-old elevator technician Harrison Blake Maharrey died while working inside the elevator shaft at the Harbor Towers condo in Aventura.

AVENTURA, Fla. – A medical examiner’s report revealed how 28-year-old elevator technician Harrison Blake Maharrey died while working inside the elevator shaft at the Harbor Towers condo in Aventura.

The report obtained by Local 10 News states that on Oct. 12, “the elevator remained operational for some unknown reason, and an elevator came down and crushed the decedent.”

Local 10 reported earlier this month that county inspectors looking into the tragic accident discovered troubling violations. The elevator pit stop switch was inoperative, with a report saying a “jumper” was found bypassing the switch.

The term jumper is used to describe rigged wiring to keep equipment running, in this case disabling a critical safety function.

“When is enough enough? Now we have a jumper on a job where a technician has passed away,” said Greg Levenson with Local IUEC 71. “It’s very critical because then he’s not aware of the potential hazard of that elevator coming down on him.”

And that’s what an autopsy revealed happened. Maharrey’s cause of death were crush injuries.

Maharrey’s father wrote on social media that his son had recently gotten married and was expecting a baby when the accident happened.

“Like I talked to you last time, I said it’s not a matter of if, but when…and when unfortunately, has happened,” Levenson said.

It’s a worst-case scenario that local union representatives have been warning about for months.

The company which maintains the elevator where Maharrey died, Oracle Elevator, also manages equipment at Miami International Airport.

That’s where Local 10 News first highlighted concerns over jumpers in March after dozens were discovered on escalators, elevators and moving walkways.

Oracle, a non-union company, told Local 10 News it is working with local and federal authorities investigating the deadly accident.

“It’s not something you can turn your head on it and say it doesn’t matter,” said Abel Arabitg with Local IUEC 74. “Nothing is going to happen. No, something can happen, and something did happen.”

The investigation into the deadly accident is currently being conducted by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and Miami-Dade County.

As for the issues at the airport, those are the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Office of the Inspector General.

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About the Author:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.