Man acted erratically before elevator death, video shows - FOX 13 News

Man acted erratically before elevator death, video shows

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Wolfe is highlighted in this video still provided by Tampa International Airport. Wolfe is highlighted in this video still provided by Tampa International Airport.
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

For the first time, we're seeing surveillance video of Chad Wolfe just before his fatal fall inside an elevator shaft at Tampa International Airport. He's seen in all black, apparently drinking.

During a news conference Wednesday officials stressed Wolfe was drunk and on Xanax.

"It speaks to his state of mind. We have some video that shows him climbing a tree in the Delta airside," said Janet Zink, TIA spokesperson.

It is hard to make out, but in one video, you can see the 31-year-old climb onto a potted plant, when he comes down he also appears wobbly.

Another view is the last video of Wolfe alive, entering an elevator on the third floor. It's believed he went up to the seventh floor before falling.

Drunk or not, his state of mind doesn't necessarily explain how he got those elevator doors open.

"The locks should be there to prevent anybody from being able to get in. There's always a way to break open a lock," Zink said.

Airport officials admit they aren't sure how or when the elevator lock was broken, or who did it. But they do point out that, the lock was inspected in January and it was fine.

Donald Cassell III of Classic Elevator systems has never worked on these specific elevators, but he says broken locks could lead to this type of tragedy. He says he rarely if ever sees that sort of problem.

"I've never really seen that on full-on modernization. That's not something you typically replace," he said.

Since the accident, TIA says the elevators have been checked out and are working, except Elevator C where Wolfe was found. It is still being fixed. The investigation remains far from over.

"It is a horrible tragedy for the family, for the airport, and we take it very seriously," Zink added.

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