A 7-year-old boy was killed in a home elevator accident at a beach rental home in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, three days after federal regulators pushed another major elevator manufacturer to fix a similar problem

The boy was discovered Saturday night trapped between the bottom of the elevator car and the home’s upper door frame, according to Rich Shortway, fire chief in Corolla, N.C. The boy’s neck was crushed after he appeared to have gotten caught between the moving elevator’s inner accordion door and an outer door.

The boy’s family, visiting the beach from Canton, Ohio, had arrived earlier that day to begin a vacation, Shortway said.

“It’s just such a terrible tragedy,” he said.

Investigators said they were still working to understand what happened. But it appeared to fit a pattern of children being crushed by residential elevators after they get trapped in the space — just a few inches — between the two elevator doors. One door moves with the elevator car. The other sits on the floor landing. Both doors lock closed when the elevator moves.

The elevator industry has known about this particular safety hazard for decades. It also has known about a simple way to prevent it: a $100 plastic or foam insert to block the gap.

But the industry officials have resisted calls to make these safety improvements, arguing to federal regulators that the problem was complicated and not their responsibility, according to a 2019 Washington Post investigation.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission that same year decided not to require companies to fix the elevators or conduct an industry-wide recall campaign. Instead, it published a little-notice safety alert on its website and mailed notices to governors in every state.

In the meantime, the accidents continued.

A few months after the CPSC backed off, a 4-year-old boy was crushed by a residential elevator at his grandparents’ home outside Salt Lake City. He survived.