PATH escalator accident injures 5

January 7, 2013 2:11:58 PM PST
Screams and panic engulfed a commuter rail station Monday morning when an ascending escalator changed direction and started to head back down, causing some people to jump off mid-ride.

Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico says the five people were hurt when the escalator started moving in the wrong direction around 9:00 a.m.

Three people were taken to the hospital as a precaution, according to Marsico. None of the injuries was considered life-threatening. They ranged from back and neck pain to scrapes, bumps and bruises, Marsico said.

Nick Lukish, of Brooklyn, N.Y., said he was headed to work and midway up the escalator when the moving staircase started going down.

"There was a stampede at the base of the escalator," Lukish said. "People started to panic and yell and scream, and I saw some people jump over to the down side of the escalator, so I jumped."

The 33-year-old, who works in information technology at a bank in Jersey City, said it wasn't until he got to work that he noticed he had cuts and bruises on his shins from the jump. After going to a pharmacy to get some bandages, he returned to the station to give his account to police.

Two of the station's three escalators were shut down after the incident, forcing thousands of commuters to walk up the 128 stairs to the street. The Port Authority says escalators at Exchange Place will remain suspended through at least Tuesday morning.

Marsico says officials don't know what caused the escalator to malfunction. A witness posted video of the incident on YouTube. Watch Alex Rodriguez' video HERE.

The Exchange Place station suffered extensive damage during Superstorm Sandy, and the Port Authority is investigating whether that played a factor in Monday's incident.

Some information from The Associated Press.

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