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Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Man killed in elevator mishap at TradeWinds resort

ST. PETE BEACH - An elevator crushed a Tampa man to death this morning at the TradeWinds Island Resorts as he was vacuuming oil out of the bottom of the shaft, according to authorities.

Mark Allen Johnson, 45, worked for SWS Environmental Services, a national company with a Largo office, which maintains the elevators at the resort, according to law enforcement and officials at the resort.

Johnson was part of a two-man team servicing an elevator at the Jacaranda Beach Villas, a seven-story building that is part of the resort, located at 5500 Gulf Blvd., officials said.

The accident happened a few minutes before 11 a.m., according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. The pair had been servicing the elevator for about 40 minutes when it happened. The other worker wasn’t hurt.

The hotel’s maintenance staff locked the elevator before the men started working, according to the sheriff’s office.

It is unknown how far the elevator fell before crushing the man.

Deputies are continuing to investigate Johnson’s death, which they are treating as an accident.

SWS is also conducting a probe.

“We’re conducting an internal investigation, and we’re working with local law enforcement,” said Cindy Daniels, the administrator at the company’s corporate office in Panama City. Daniels declined to comment further.

Later today, Johnson’s wife, family and friends were waiting for some of his children to return home from school to share the tragic news, said Neal Pharr, a neighbor and friend of the Johnsons.

“He was a really good man, a good family man, a good neighbor and well respected by the community,” Pharr said from the Johnson home.

Johnson is survived by his wife, two sons, a stepson and a stepdaughter, Pharr said.

The accident marks the second time in recent weeks someone in the Tampa Bay area has died in an elevator shaft, though such deaths are rare.

Last month, a Pennsylvania man fell to his death at Tampa International Airport.

Investigators still have not conclusively said how 31-year-old Chad Wolfe fell down the shaft of the No. 21 elevator at the Armstrong Blue section of the airport, though airport police have said Wolfe may have tried to pry open the elevator door on the short-term parking garage’s seventh floor.

Airport officials said Wolfe may have been under the influence of drugs and alcohol after arriving from Atlanta, and state inspectors, after examining the elevator, noted that a locking device was broken on the elevator door leading to the shaft.

Stay with TBO.com for updates.

Stay with TBO.com for updates.

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