Falling Air Conditioner Hits Woman in Head, Reigniting Every New Yorker’s Mostly Irrational Fear

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Photo: Jorge Moro/Shutterstock

It happened again: A not-quite-stable A.C. unit, of which there are thousands and thousands constantly dangling above our heads, actually plummeted from a sixth-floor window, hitting an unsuspecting pedestrian in the head and injuring her leg. “It looked like hamburger meat, it was disgusting,” said Chloe Pinkerton, a 28-year-old high school teacher, who had been training for the New York City Marathon.

According to the building’s management company, someone “was removing the air conditioner and lost control,” when it crashed down onto Pinkerton and narrowly missed her boyfriend. “It’s crazy,” she told NBC New York. “One of us could have died so easily.”

In reality, although every New Yorker has thought about dying that way (see also: crashing scaffolding; getting pushed onto the subway tracks), death by air conditioner is very rare. The NYPD has said, “We do not compile data on those accidents,” but based on news accounts, the last time a falling A.C. killed someone was more than 25 years ago. In 2010, a Vietnam vet caught one on the head, but only after an awning broke its fall, so he escaped with just minor injuries. And he still sued for $21 million.