A Chinese woman was reportedly found dead by maintenance workers after being trapped inside a broken elevator for a month.
The woman, 43, was riding the elevator in her apartment building in the Gaoling district of Xian, China, on Jan. 30 when the lift became stuck in between the 10th and 11th floors of the building, USA Today reported.
Although two service workers who were called to fix the broken cable banged on the doors of the elevator to check if anyone was inside, they reportedly turned off the elevator's power and left the building after hearing no response. Residents of the building were told to use a different elevator.
When the workers returned a month later to fix the cable, they opened the elevator door and found the woman's dead body trapped inside. Although the exact cause of her death has not been confirmed, it appears that she either starved to death or died of dehydration.
"Her hands were distorted… there were scratches on the wall, it was horrible," a building resident told The Beijing Times, according to USA Today.
Residents said they did not hear any strange cries coming from the elevator during the time the woman was trapped inside.
The woman, who has been identified only by her surname, Wu, reportedly lived alone on the 15th floor of the building.
Although authorities investigating the incident ruled out the possibility of foul play, they are charging the service workers with involuntary manslaughter because they believe the woman died due to gross negligence on their part.
Authorities said the workers should have opened the elevator door when they were first called to the building to make sure no one was inside.
News of the woman's death has spread through media outlets in China and sparked public outrage, The New York Times reported.
Hundreds of Gaoling district residents gathered at a rally in early March to protest incompetent and lax residential management, which they believe caused the tragedy.
"The management did nothing," one sign held by a protester reader, according to The Times.
Poor residential service, particularly in low-income areas, has reportedly become a widespread problem in China. Residents of the building where the woman lived frequently complained about broken lights, water and power outages, and elevator breakdowns.