As hundreds show up to tour Washington Monument on Memorial Day, National Mall acknowledges elevator problems

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJLA) - The memo, dated Friday, acknowledges what ABC7 has reported - the Washington monument's elevator has not operated consistently, failing several times in the past two weeks, despite being inspected and certified three days before reopening to the public on May 12.

But Superintendent Robert Vogel insists "the elevator is safe to operate."

According to the memo, sent to all National Mall employees, last Monday's stoppage came after a report of a malfunctioning part. That failure left tour guide Carol Kendrick stuck at the top for about two hours.

Then, last Wednesday, the elevator stopped working at 6 p.m. Minutes later, severe weather would force visitors at the top to evacuate - by walking down all 896 steps.

The Park Service memo indicates, "The cause may have been human error. The elevator key was found to be in between operating mode and inspection mode, which would cause the elevator to stop."

The key has since been removed.

Chantilly resident Brian Douglass said having heard about the reported failures, his family still chose to visit the reopened monument Monday - and happily, there were no problems during their tour.

"We heard about [the elevator problems] on the news, but I mean - it's not all the time, and if you gotta be stuck somewhere, why not?" he said.

Riley Douglass said the trip was well worth it.

"It was a nice, clear day, so I got to see the view of lot of things," she said.