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Even if all of the ropes were to break, or the sheave system were to release them, it is unlikely that an elevator car would fall to the bottom of the shaft. Roped elevator cars have built-in braking systems, or safeties, that grab onto the rail when the car moves too fast.
Elevators also have electromagnetic brakes that engage when the car comes to a stop. The electromagnets actually keep the brakes in the open position, instead of closing them. With this design, the brakes will automatically clamp shut if the elevator loses power.
If all else fails, and the elevator does fall down the shaft, there is one final safety measure that will probably save the passengers. The bottom of the shaft has a heavy-duty shock absorber system -- typically a piston mounted in an oil-filled cylinder. The shock absorber works like a giant cushion to soften the elevator car's landing.