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Old 12-16-2008, 09:34 PM
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bsarahd bsarahd is offline
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Free fall

I'm in a (true)story telling mood and I wasn't sure where to post this, but since it happened when I was in Russia, I thought I would post it here.

We arrived in Moscow on a Friday morning. A week and a day later, we were given a free day to do as we pleased in the city. Our group was staying on the 17th floor of a hotel. We got into the elevator that morning and Wes, the biggest guy in the group (6'7"...the big guy in the hat in the pic below) decides to jump up and down in the elevator.


As SOON as the elevator doors shut, we just DROP. We didn't realize we were freefalling until the elevator jerked to a stop. we tried to press floor buttons, but nothing worked. Someone came on over the intercom but didn't speak English and the only thing I knew how to say in Russian was "I don't understand" which didn't really help much. We decide to pry open the doors and this is what we see:


Creepy right? We force the doors closed again. Then the lights shut off. We are left with only a small safety light in the corner. We sit down in the elevator and start laughing really hard because we are so scared we don't know what to do. The lights come back on again, then we drop. Then stop. Then drop. Then stop. The drops aren't nearly as long as the initial fall, so we know we are being manually lowered. We are finally lowered to the 11th or so floor, jump out, and proceed to head down 11 flights of stairs to the bottom of the hotel.

Oh, and the guy that caused the elevator to free fall? He just so happened to have his video camera on him. He whipped it out after the initial fall, and it has everything on it after that.


If anyone is interested, Einstein's general theory of relativity helped explain why I didn't know I was in free-fall until the elevator jerked to a stop:
Equivalence principle

A person in a free-falling elevator experiences weightlessness during their fall, and objects either float alongside them or drift at constant speed. Since everything in the elevator is falling together, no gravitational effect can be observed. In this way, the experiences of an observer in free fall are indistinguishable from those of an observer in deep space, far from any sufficient source of gravity. Such observers are the [haha, right-->]privileged ("inertial") observers Einstein described in his theory of special relativity: observers for whom light travels along straight lines at constant speed.
Einstein hypothesized that the similar experiences of weightless observers and inertial observers in special relativity represented a fundamental property of gravity, and he made this the cornerstone of his theory of general relativity, formalized in his equivalence principle. Roughly speaking, the principle states that a person in a free-falling elevator cannot tell that they are in free fall. Every experiment in such a free-falling environment has the same results as it would for an observer at rest or moving uniformly in deep space, far from all sources of gravity.
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Last edited by bsarahd : 12-16-2008 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:37 PM
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Geez, I would have been terrified!!!!
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:41 PM
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Yeah, I definitely was. I was nearly crying. We knew we were somewhere between floors 10 and 12 and I just kept visualizing the elevator falling to the ground and.......
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:54 PM
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OMG I would have freaked! Glad you all were okay! Besides being terrified... Do you have the video?
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:04 PM
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I wish I had the video! But it was on like a non-digital type camera. So...just that one digital picture.
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:07 PM
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That happened to us at work. A whole bunch of us pile in the elevator and one of the girls jump as a joke. We were locked in that thing for 2 hours till we got out. We didn't free fall though....thank god!
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:15 PM
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2 hours?! Dude...that's no fun.
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:20 PM
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No it wasn't then half the ladies start to panick and cry. I was soooo frustrated and just wanted to get out of there sooooo bad!
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:36 PM
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OMG!!! I just read this! I think I woulda pooped myself for sure! That is crazy. I'm glad it DID jerk to a stop lol!!!
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:07 AM
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OMG that would have scared me.
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