ATLANTA — A local student-athlete at Champion Prep Academy died this week after an elevator at an Atlanta apartment complex collapsed, pinning him between two floors.
Jaumarcus McFarland, 19, died Tuesday after being trapped in an elevator during an incident family friends are calling “preventable,” Atlanta's WSB-TV reported.
Atlanta police confirmed officers responded to assist fire and rescue personnel after reports that a person was trapped and crushed in the elevator Tuesday afternoon. According to police, the officers helped with crowd control.
Witnesses said three football players boarded an elevator on an upper floor of the building on their way to practice. Soon after boarding, the witnesses said, the elevator felt as though it was beginning to fall before stopping and opening normally on the third floor.
Witnesses told CBS46 two of the three football players exited the elevator immediately; however, before the third player was able to exit, the elevator began free-falling. They said he was crushed and trapped between the top of the elevator and the floor of the shaft below for nearly one hour before being recovered.
In a statement, the property manager for the complex said more than a dozen people were in the elevator moments before the fatal incident, pushing it past its 3,000-pound weight limit. However, residents said they’ve been voicing concerns about the elevator’s safety for months.
Officials from Champion Prep Academy, a program that bridges the gap between high school and college for athletes hoping for scholarships, confirmed the student succumbed to his injuries and said his family is traveling from Missouri to Atlanta.
Champion Prep Academy football players who asked not to be identified told CBS46 that during the ordeal, they were unable to see the top half of their friend's body because it was crushed in between the gap. Only his bottom half remained dangling, they said.
"I ain't even got the words," one teammate said in disbelief. "His feet were moving at first. Then it stopped. He went unconscious."
Another teammate said, "We all came here for school. I came here three weeks ago, and we instantly clicked, so seeing somebody I'm close with like that, it hurts."
When CBS46 journalists tried to gather information at the location, security personnel kicked them off the property.
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