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Two people riding an Empire State Building elevator plunged 40 stories when a cable snapped Monday, but an emergency braking system slowed it to a stop on the fourth floor, and the people were not seriously hurt, police said.

"I thought I was going to die," Shameka Peterson told the New York Post. "It was going really, really fast."

Peterson and Joe Masoraca boarded the elevator on the 44th floor where they work. "It just plunged," she said. "It was like a bungee fall. It was terrifying."

Peterson returned to work about an hour after the 400-foot fall, but left because of neck and shoulder pain. She was treated in a hospital and released. Masoraca went home and made an appointment to see a doctor.

The elevator plunge was caused by a sheared compensating cable, the wire that adjusts the weight of the car, said Howard Rubenstein, building spokesman. The elevator had passed an inspection May 19, he said.

All 64 elevators in the 34th Street landmark have been scheduled for inspections this week.

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