Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) April 19, 2013 – The death of a man at Tampa International Airport has investigators searching for answers.
Chad Wolfe, 31, landed in Tampa just after midnight on a recent Friday. While still in the airport with his girlfriend and her stepfather, Wolfe went missing. The following morning, airport workers discovered his body at the bottom of an elevator shaft.
Robert Joyce, a Tampa personal injury attorney who is not involved in the case, commented, “One would think an accident like this would be highly preventable. Elevators are generally held to strict safety standards and are inspected regularly. It seems clear some safety measures malfunctioned.”
Wolfe and his girlfriend were coming to Tampa to visit with her mother and stepfather before going to Daytona for Bike Week.
Officials said Wolfe boarded an elevator from the main terminal and rode to the top of the seven-story parking garage, where they later found his cell phone and luggage.
Garland Wolfe, Chad’s father, told the Tampa Bay Times that Chad would often visit the top floor of buildings to get a view and may have gone there to smoke a cigarette.
Wolfe’s girlfriend had him paged by the airport’s public address when they couldn’t find him. Hours later, at about 4 a.m., they called Wolfe’s father to tell him Chad had gone missing.
According to TIA spokeswoman Janet Zink, airport maintenance workers received reports of a malfunctioning elevator at about 3:00 a.m. When technicians inspected the elevator the next morning, a worker found Wolfe’s body at about 10:45 a.m. Zink said investigators did not suspect foul play.
County medical examiners took custody of Wolfe’s body and will attempt to determine the cause of his death.
Garland Wolfe told the Tampa Bay Times the following Saturday that he was tired of waiting for answers. He said that investigators suggested at first that Chad may have pried the elevator doors open, but he did not think that was possible given his son’s slight build. He also said that Chad had a happy life and loved his job. The two ran an auto body repair shop together.
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