After Chad Wolfe fell to his death down an elevator shaft at Tampa International Airport, his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority and the company that built and maintained the elevator. The family filed the suit on September 26 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court.
Wolfe was seen on airport security cameras at about 1:00 a.m. on March 15, 2013, when he entered an elevator on the third floor of the airport terminal. Officials said he took the elevator to the parking garage on the seventh floor. His body was found later that morning on top of the elevator car, which was stuck on the first floor. An airport police report said that Wolfe appeared to have forced the elevator doors open, but the lawsuit claims that his death was caused by an elevator malfunction.
The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Wolfe’s death an accident and determined that he was intoxicated at the time of his death. The lawsuit claims that Schindler Elevator Corp. breached its duty to properly maintain, inspect and repair the elevator, and that Wolfe’s death was caused by negligence on the part of Schindler and the aviation authority.
An airport spokesman said that the elevators were inspected and found to be safe.