A professor at Boston University was crushed to death on Monday in a devastating elevator accident in her Allston, Massachusetts apartment building.

The Sun reported that the victim has been identified as 38 year-old Carrie O’Connor, who had recently moved into the building. Residents of the building said that O’Connor was trying to load a package into the elevator when it suddenly dropped. An autopsy later determined that the cause of death was “traumatic asphyxia” and determined the “manner was accidental.”

The tragic accident was witnessed by a man who had to be taken to the hospital for evaluation due to the trauma of seeing the incident take place.

“He saw things that no one should ever see,” one resident of the building said.

“I heard someone that was bringing in a package out in the hallway, and then I heard an ungodly scream,” resident Leanne Scorzoni told the ABC-TV affiliate. “Then we ran out into the hallway, and we saw a gentleman who was obviously in distress. He was screaming and hyperventilating, saying, ‘She’s dead! She’s dead!’ ”

Scorzoni added to CBS that the man who witnessed O’Connor’s death “was helping her with a box into the building, and he was going up the stairs, and he had told her, ‘Hey just be careful,’ because … you have to pull the door across and then step in and then press the button.’”

“If you have something in there, it can trigger a sensor,” she explained of the elevator, which she described as “old-fashioned.”

“[The witness] believes that whatever [O’Connor] was trying to get in there hit the sensor, and then it started moving.” Scorzoni continued.

Resident Eric Carmichael said that his wife “heard a woman in distress and tried to help her out.”

“The lady was trying to put her package into the elevator, like that’s how we do it. Take it from the lobby,” he explained. “I guess maybe the package and the woman were over the limit of what the elevator could handle so then what my wife said she saw was the lady’s arms like hanging onto her package.”

O’Connor had been a French lecturer at Boston University for about a year. A spokesman for the university told reporters that her death was “a terrible tragedy and loss”.

“My condolences go out to her family, colleagues and students,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve lost a bright, young life and it’s just an awful situation…it’s heartbreaking.”

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