An 88-year-old woman was strangled yesterday on a Long Island Rail Road escalator that commuters said was malfunctioning for months. Irene Bernatzky was killed after she fell and her clothes became entangled in the treads of the moving stairs, investigators say. Officials say the escalator passed inspection last month after a minor repair, but commuters say it had been malfunctioning for a long time, reports the New York Times.
The escalator's left-hand rail moved when the right-hand rail did not, according to one commuter who has used the station for 15 years. "The arm is the problem because you lean on it and you can tumble over,” he explained. “It’s out of service all of the time." Records show that New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority planned several years ago to replace the 18-year-old escalator, along with aging escalators at other stations, but scrapped the plans because of budget constraints. (Read more escalators stories.)