Safety mechanisms failed horrifically yesterday when a woman was strangled after her scarf and then her hair became caught in an escalator at a Montreal subway station. “The woman’s scarf got caught in the escalator and then she bent down to try to get it out and her hair got stuck, too," a police spokesman tells the Montreal Gazette. "A bystander called 911 and by the time police arrived, she was declared dead." It's not clear whether anybody pressed the emergency stop button after the woman became trapped.
A spokesman for Montreal's ambulance service says the 48-year-old woman's death is like nothing else he's seen in his 30-year career, the Toronto Star reports. Experts say escalators come equipped with safety mechanism designed to prevent this kind of accident. "The landing plate in the combs at the bottom are supposed to back up when a certain force is engaged," says a contractor with years of experience working on the mechanisms. "These escalators stop all the time, usually jammed with rocks or stones in the winter, or if teens jump on the steps with great force." (Read more Montreal stories.)