Woman recounts being stuck in Carlsbad Caverns elevator | KOB 4

Woman recounts being stuck in Carlsbad Caverns elevator

Colton Shone
April 11, 2018 06:31 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A Michigan family will never forget a recent vacation to the Land of Enchantment. They were stuck in an elevator 700 feet underground.


Kiersten Gawronksi detailed the harrowing experience. In a photo that Gawronski shared with KOB, she was all smiles with her son and aunt alongside members of the Carlsbad Fire Department. Just before the photo was taken, her family was stuck for hours in one of the elevators at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in late March.

"We got into the elevator and we noticed there's a clock or a counter that tells you how far down you are," she said. "So we were marked 500 feet, 600 feet, and all of a sudden at about 710 feet the car jolted to a stop."

The elevator window gave them a glimpse of what they were surrounded by a wall of rock.

"I noticed there was a phone in the car and it said to call this number, and so I picked it up," she said. "It rang up to the ranger's desk. I said, 'We're in the elevator car and I think we're stuck,'" she said. 

The fire department was on their way. They laughed to pass the time and took it as a "life happens" moment.

"We joked a lot about making a pee corner and we joked about the movie "127 Hours", what limb are we cutting off first?" she said.

It took about three and half hours for first responders to get them out. As for if they're sore about the whole situation, the answer is no. They're hoping to go back soon.

"We actually wanted to go back the next morning, but when we called, they said the elevators were still down," she said.

The family was using the secondary elevators at the park. The main ones have been undergoing renovations for the past few months. The main ones should be up and running by May.


Colton Shone

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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