Horror escalator accident kills one, injures several

One person was killed and at least five others seriously injured on Wednesday in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, when an escalator suddenly started moving and they were caught in the machinery, a hospital official said.

The accident occurred at the Baki Soveti station in the early afternoon, when the subway system was packed with passengers. An Associated Press reporter saw a man, one of his arms mangled up to the elbow, being carried unconscious out of the station.

Elbrus Muradov, chief engineer for the Baku subway, said the accident occurred after one of the escalators at the station stopped moving.

“A second escalator was closed for repair and there was a barrier in front of it with a warning not to use it,” he said. “One of the passengers moved it, and about eight people stepped over it and started to walk down.”

The weight of the passengers caused the escalator to start moving rapidly, Muradov said.

“The arms of the first to go down went into the grate at the bottom of the escalator, and the seven others fell on him,” he said.

He said the first person was gravely injured and the rest only slightly.
But a doctor at the Musa Nagiyeva clinical hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of losing his position, said six people were in intensive care.

Two of them were near death, including one whose arms were torn off at the shoulder, he said.

One of the injured later died, hospital official Sakina Nurmamedova said. She identified him as Vakhid Akhundov, born in 1946.

The prosecutor general’s office said 11 people were hurt in the accident.

Muradov and prosecutor Rustam Usubov said that according to preliminary information, the escalator had been closed for repair but people had tried to use it anyway. However, the prosecutor’s office opened a criminal case on suspicion of safety violations and urged witnesses to come forth.

Witness Alizade Lyatafat (56), who said she was at the top of the elevator, said there were no warning signs. She also said that the escalator was packed with people when it started its precipitous movement.—Sapa-AP

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