A deliveryman who vanished after taking Chinese food to a Bronx apartment complex was found alive Tuesday after apparently spending four days trapped in an elevator that had become stuck between floors.
Ming Kuang Chen, 35, had been the subject of a widespread search after he failed to return to his restaurant Friday with $200 in receipts.
Firefighters were called to the apartment complex early Tuesday after getting a complaint that someone was stuck in the elevator.
“They said, ‘We think the guy’s drunk. We can’t understand him,'” fire Lt. Peter Chadwick told The New York Times. “Little did they know he wasn’t drunk, but probably feeling the effects of being in an elevator” for days.
Chen was suffering from dehydration, said Dr. Babak Toosi at Montefiore Medical Center, but was feeling better after eating an apple, cereal and a roll.
Chen, a native of China who speaks little English, apparently tried to tell rescuers how long he had been trapped by circling his watch dial with his finger numerous times, said Fire Department spokesman Charlie Markey.
The man had made three deliveries to the apartment complex but failed to return to the Happy Dragon restaurant. Police conducted a door-to-door canvass of the apartment complex and searched a nearby reservoir.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there would be an investigation.
“I don’t know that anything was done wrong,” he said. “If they were there and they searched and they didn’t find him, thank God it turned out that he’s OK.”
He said he believed the elevator maintenance workers were on strike, but “whether that contributed to it or not, I don’t know.”
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