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University Lecturer Dies From 'Traumatic Asphyxia' In Elevator Accident

University Lecturer Dies From 'Traumatic Asphyxia' In Elevator Accident

A lecturer in the US has died of 'traumatic asphyxiation' in an elevator accident.

Carrie O'Connor, a 38-year-old French language lecturer at Boston University, died on Monday in an apartment building on Commonwealth Avenue in Allston, Massachusetts.

Police confirmed the cause of death and ruled it was accidental, with one tenant describing it as a 'horrifying' end.


Leanne Scorzoni - who said she spoke with a man who had been helping Carrie moments before her death - told The Boston Globe: "It was horrifying. I heard it, he saw everything.

"He was helping her with a box into the building, and he was going up the stairs, and he had told her, 'Hey, just be careful because it's an old fashioned [elevator]'.

"I don't know what type of elevator it is, but you have to pull the door across and then step in and then press the button. However, if you have something in there, it can trigger a sensor. And he told me, he believes that whatever she was trying to get in there hit the sensor, and then it started moving."


Leanne said the man was walking up the staircase next to the elevator when the accident happened and she could hear screaming through the walls.

She said: "So he was walking up the staircase and was just talking to her. And he just said, 'Oh, I don't think that's gonna fit in there'. And then she's like, 'Oh, I'll try it one more time'. And then I heard her screaming, and I heard him screaming.

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"I thought someone had fallen down the staircase. When I looked at the elevator, it was not there. Only the ceiling of the car was on my floor, so all the cables were there."

The state's Division of Professional Licensure said an investigation is now underway.


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In a statement, it said: "The Office of Public Safety and Inspections responded to an elevator incident in Boston that tragically resulted in a fatality.

"The incident is under investigation and the department will continue working with first responders and other authorities to determine the cause of this accident.

"The elevator was recently inspected and was certified in accordance with state regulations. The department extends its deepest sympathies to the loved ones of the victim during this difficult time."

Carrie will be 'sorely missed' by the university. Credit: Boston University College of Arts and Sciences
Carrie will be 'sorely missed' by the university. Credit: Boston University College of Arts and Sciences

Carrie's mum Christal said her daughter was a passionate student, cook and traveller.

In an obituary shared in BU Today, she said: "Once she learned to read when she was just a little one, we used to have to bribe her to stop her reading and get outside.

"She said you shouldn't be able to graduate college without travelling. I don't even know all the different countries she's been to."

Stan Sclaroff, dean of Arts and Sciences at the university, added that she would be 'sorely missed'.

Featured Image Credit: Christal and Daniel O’Connor

Topics: US News

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Jake Massey

Jake Massey is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from Newcastle University, where he learnt a bit about media and a lot about living without heating. After spending a few years in Australia and New Zealand, Jake secured a role at an obscure radio station in Norwich, inadvertently becoming a real-life Alan Partridge in the process. From there, Jake became a reporter at the Eastern Daily Press. Jake enjoys playing football, listening to music and writing about himself in the third person.