HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A cargo lift accident that claimed the life of a Bay St. Louis man over the weekend and injured two others has some city leaders calling for routine safety inspections.
The accident happened at a home on Sheephead Street in the Garden Isles Community. Many say it was a tragedy that could have been avoided.
Donna Sea lives a few doors down from where the elevator accident happened. She says when she heard the commotion Saturday night she ran to her neighbor to see if she could help.
"It was just devastating to see. It's hard to believe he's gone," said Sea.
Officials say 74-year-old Richard Sandoz died from injuries he sustained in the accident. Sandoz's friend a Brookhaven doctor survived the accident with cuts and bruises. The doctors sixteen-year-old son sustained a broken leg.
Sea said, "He told me the floor fell out from underneath them and they feel on the cement."
Sea says Sandoz built the utility lift attached to his home by himself after Hurricane Katrina. But recommended she hire a company to build and install hers. She said Sandoz had recently tack welded a new floor to the bottom of his lift.
"Never would have expected the elevator floor to fall out. With the weather and the conditions with the salt water and all of that I guess its takes a toll on your elevator," explained Sea.
The lift accident is one of three in Hancock County so far this year. City leaders say homeowners should have them inspected for safety at least once a year.
"Not only that them things need greasing they need attention and the cables checked on them life of the cable span is something you've also got to look at you need a checklist when you have one and you need to follow that checklist," said Waveland Mayor David Garcia.
"The city of course ensures they are installed properly and the electrical hook-ups are all done within the code, but the lifts themselves are specifically designed for what they're stated to be. If its a cargo lift it should be limited to just cargo," said Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame.
He and others say that plus routine independent inspections could save lives. Bay St. Louis City Councilman Lonnie Falgout was a friend of Sandoz. He told WLOX NEWS he'd like his co-council members to take a look at legislation that could help ensure the safety of utility or cargo lifts.