A freshman was found seriously injured after a long fall that left him immobilized for hours in the Stata Center on Thursday morning.
MIT Police found the student at about 8:30 a.m. after being called by a Facilities employee. The student had fallen onto the floor of the 9th floor stairwell several hours prior. His legs were seriously injured, he had signs of hypothermia, and he was taken by ambulance to a hospital.
On Thursday night, he was in the intensive care unit at Cambridge Hospital.
He could have fallen from a roof-access hatch, accessible by a roughly 15-foot climb up a metal ladder attached to the wall in the 9th floor stairwell. He could also have climbed up the ladder, tried to open the hatch (which a reporter found jammed last night), and fallen down while trying to open the hatch. There is no evidence that the student was hacking.
The student’s condition is unknown. An ICU nurse at Cambridge Hospital declined to comment on his condition. Late last night, his graduate resident tutor did not respond to an e-mail and housemasters did not respond to a phone message.
MIT police chief John DiFava confirmed the incident took place but had little additional information beyond that the student was taken to a nearby hospital, indicating that he had more serious injuries than could be treated at MIT Medical. DiFava said he was told that the student will be OK.
The incident is reminiscent of a Jan. 2006 accident when a freshman fell through a skylight in Building 5. She was not alone — she was accompanied with about five other students when she fell. She suffered numerous broken bones and was badly hurt after landing on a staircase platform underneath the skylight between the second and third floors of the building, narrowly missing falling several more stories. Police were called at 2:34 a.m., shortly after the fall.
Both incidents apparently involved exploring. But unlike in the 2006 accident, the student from the Thursday morning incident was apparently alone; it is not clear that he was ever in an unauthorized location of campus, such as a roof; his injuries were apparently less severe; he might not have been at risk of falling much further; and he was not found until several hours after the fall.