Man dies after falling 10 storeys down hotel boiler shaft

By Peter Hermann

The hotel guest had gone to the roof of a Washington hotel seeking a good view of the city. The Lincoln Memorial is one of its attractions. Photo / AP
The hotel guest had gone to the roof of a Washington hotel seeking a good view of the city. The Lincoln Memorial is one of its attractions. Photo / AP

A hotel guest who had gone to the roof of a Washington hotel seeking a good view shortly after New Year's was killed when he fell into a boiler shaft and tumbled 10 floors to the basement, according to the police and fire departments.

It took firefighters about an hour to retrieve the man's body. The incident occurred shortly before 2.30 am local time at the nine-storey Dupont Circle Hotel in the 1500 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW. The hotel is owned by the Doyle Collection group.

"It looks like a fall," said Rachel Schaerr, a spokeswoman for the DC police. "He went up to the roof to catch a really good view."

Schaerr said the victim was a male guest at the hotel and that he was on the roof with another person, possibly his girlfriend. The victim's identity has not been released pending notification of relatives.

Mark Caldwell, one of the hotel's managers, read a prepared statement calling the incident "a tragic accident". Caldwell declined to provide more details, including how the man got to the roof and how he apparently fell into the shaft.

A spokeswoman for Doyle Collection did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Vito Maggiolo, a spokesman for the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, said crews who are experts in confined-space rescues handled the call.

Four years ago, a Maryland man was found dead 15m down an apartment building's ventilation shaft after he had been out celebrating on New Year's Eve in Adams Morgan.

He had been last seen at a bar on 18th Street and disappeared on his way home, and was found two days later in the shaft, just blocks from the entertainment district.

- Washington Post

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