Betty Lou Oliver was the elevator operator for the Empire State Building in the 1940’s. She was working on the 80th story of the building on July 28, 1945. What Betty did not know was that a man named Colonel Smith was flying through heavy fog over New York in a B-25 and was heading straight for the building. The plane would crash into the 79th floor of the building. Betty was thrown from her post and badly burned in the accident though she survived while 14 others did not.
When rescuers got to her they decided to lower her via the elevators. What the rescuers did not know is that the cables had already been weakened to the breaking point. Once the elevator doors closed, the cables snapped and she plummeted 79 stories. Betty survived but again had to be rescued. She was later treated at the hospital for serious injuries. It still stands as the Guinness World Record for the longest survived elevator fall.
Betty Lou Oliver had three children and seven grandchildren. She died November 24, 1999, and is buried alongside her husband (who died in 1986) in the Ft. Smith National Cemetery, Ft. Smith, Arizona.