D.C. firefighters hoisted three college students 30 feet up a shaft after their elevator stalled at the Kennedy Center on Tuesday. (D.C. Fire and EMS Department)

Three college students visiting Washington went on a ride Tuesday that few people ever get to take: They were hoisted in harnesses up an elevator shaft at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The three were in an elevator that stalled about 30 feet below the center’s Terrace Level, authorities said. The D.C. fire department was called at 4:48 p.m., department spokesmen said.

It was determined that the elevator would not move, said department spokesman Vito Maggiolo.

With no other access to the elevator available, he said, “two guys went down.”

Two firefighters rappelled to the stalled elevator, according to the account provided by two department spokesmen.

The firefighters entered the car, apparently through a roof hatch, the fire department said. They checked the condition of the students and placed them in harnesses.


The rescue operation at the Kennedy Center in Washington. (DC Fire and EMS photo)

The students were then hooked to a pulley system and lifted up the shaft to safety, “one by one.”

One of the fire department spokesmen noted the students’ demeanor when they emerged from the shaft. They “were smiling,” said Daryl Levine, the second spokesman.

“We are all very grateful,” said Kennedy Center spokeswoman Michelle Pendoley. She said the elevator was on its way up when it stalled.

The fire department said the rescue of the students, two women and a man, took about 45 minutes.

The students are visiting from Washington state to participate in the annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, Pendoley said. The festival runs through Saturday, according to the Kennedy Center website.


D.C. emergency vehicles at the Kennedy Center on Tuesday for the operation to rescue three college students from Washington state. (D.C. Fire and EMS Department)

The students could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

The faulty elevator was taken out of service and was to be evaluated Wednesday, the Kennedy Center said.