Marites Fortaliza became stuck in the elevator of her employer's townhouse on Friday when the elevator broke down between floors. The 53-year-old Queens woman was not rescued until Monday, and suffered from dehydration but was said to be in stable condition after being taken to the hospital.
The building, owned by billionaire investment banker Warren Stephens, serves as the Stephens' family home. The family were away for the weekend, so Fortaliaza was the only one in the house when the elevator malfunctioned. She was discovered upon the family's return on Monday.
A statement was released by Stephens Inc., based in Little Rock, AK on Monday:
"The employee involved has been a valued member of the Stephens extended family for 18 years. The Stephens family is relieved that she is doing well in the hospital.
A Stephens family member accompanied her to the hospital this morning and remains at her side. The cause of this unfortunate incident is being investigated, and appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that something like this never happens again."
On the scene of every claustrophobic’s nightmare: A woman was rescued from an elevator inside 48 E. 65th St. after… https://t.co/xOj1bcK9em— Andrew Ramos (@Andrew Ramos)1548698030.0
And you thought you had a bad weekend... This woman was trapped inside an elevator for 3 days after an apparent ma… https://t.co/YplouzyfNl— Andrew Ramos (@Andrew Ramos)1548729903.0
just a terrifying story from @RayVilleda . as a New Yorker, I'm always judging whether someone will come get me if… https://t.co/XhqApw8Xv9— michael gargiulo (@michael gargiulo)1548753514.0
Several people questioned why these private elevators don't have a help button or other way to contact emergency services.
@michaelG4NY @RayVilleda @NBCNewYork How come these elevators don't have a 'call 911' or 'call for help' button?— Paula Miceli, PhD (@Paula Miceli, PhD)1548767929.0
@michaelG4NY @RayVilleda @NBCNewYork You’d think a Billionaire could afford an emergency phone/alarm in his home el… https://t.co/50S9jOsMhP— Deedee🇺🇸 (@Deedee🇺🇸)1548762590.0
@KHONnews Where was the emergency button?????— Laura Quigley (@Laura Quigley)1548762076.0
The horror of being stuck in a confined space for 3 days was not lost on the internet.
@AndrewRamosTV @PIX11News Tf? I can’t breathe just reading this headline, but I have questions. She had no cell phone? No emergency button?— 1Individual (@1Individual)1548765564.0
@AndrewRamosTV @PIX11News My worst nightmare. 😨— Katelyn Kev Krane (@Katelyn Kev Krane)1548759302.0
@9NewsSyd Oh HELL no😱🤢😭😭— Kimpossible (@Kimpossible)1548770207.0
Many people just wished for her speedy recovery, mentally and physically.
@9NewsSyd Well wishes being sent to her!! Horrible!— PattySwansonHarrison (@PattySwansonHarrison)1548767644.0
@AndrewRamosTV @PIX11News Alhmdullah she was rescued but why there’s no emergency communication system inside the e… https://t.co/SVE4LVFGxH— tough boy (@tough boy)1548783025.0
@AndrewRamosTV @PIX11News Thank God she is ok.— Dawn Marie❤💕💫✨ (@Dawn Marie❤💕💫✨)1548698347.0
@AndrewRamosTV @PIX11News This is a horror story, that poor woman. I hope she makes a full recovery.— ☠️ (@☠️)1548766461.0
The cause of the elevator malfunction is still under investigation. According to the New York Post, records indicate that the elevator was inspected by a private company as recently as July 2018 and found to be in working order.