Betty Lou <I>Gower</I> Oliver


Betty Lou Gower Oliver

Arkansas, USA
Death 24 Nov 1999 (aged 74)
Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas, USA
Burial Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas, USA
Plot 10 0 108
Memorial ID 32384240 View Source
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As a young 20 year old bride, Betty Lou Oliver was the elevator operator of elevator #6 in the Empire State Building when Lt. Col. Willian F. Smith's B-25 hit the north side of the building between the 79th and 80th floor on July 28th, 1945. Seriously injured, she was put in an elevator for evacuation to medical help. Unbeknownst to everyone, the right engine of the plane smashed its way through an elevator door and went crashing down the elevator shaft, severing cables as it went. This was the very same shaft of the elevator that Betty Lou Oliver had been put in. The car and elevator operator plunged 1,000 feet (75 stories) into a sub-basement. The freefall of the elevator was broken by the massive coils of cables that had fallen to the bottom of the shaft. Despite suffering a broken back and legs, the operator survived. She had to be cut from the mangled wreckage. July 28th was supposed to be her last day on the job. She recovered in less than eight months, and returned to Ft. Smith, AR, with her husband Oscar Lee Oliver. She 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, AR.

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