What happened:

Five people were injured when an escalator at a New Jersey rail station malfunctioned, causing riders to pile into one another during the busy morning commute.

According to a report in the Washington Post, an ascending escalator at Exchange Place PATH station in Jersey City suddenly changed direction and started moving backwards, forcing some people to jump off mid-ride.

Witnesses describe the scene as chaotic, with screams and panic from frightened commuters as the escalator caused people to slam into each other. One of those commuters caught on the broken machinery described the scene, “There was a stampede at the base of the escalator. 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.” Another witness, who was not on the escalator, but observing, said the speed of the descent was four times the speed backwards as it should be going upwards.

Three were taken to the hospital as a precaution, according to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Spokesman Ron Marsico, with injuries ranging from back and neck pain to scrapes, bumps and bruises.


The Virginia Injury Lawyer Perspective:   

An investigation by Port Authority officials concluded that the escalator malfunctioned because of damage the station sustained during Hurricane Sandy. The Exchange Place station was filled with more than 12 feet of saltwater during the storm and investigators say that massive saltwater flooding caused the machinery to break down. 

The escalator was repaired and reopened the next day. All escalators and equipment at other PATH stations were also reinspected and, according to officials, appear safe. Many Manhattan subway stations were also filled with saltwater during the storm and this raises new questions about whether they also could have corroded escalators. MTA officials said all stations and equipment have been inspected.

We’ve reported on escalator accidents in the past, including problems at D.C. Metro stations. Given the extensive storm damage that the New York and New Jersey stations received, it’s imperative that officials stay on top of this situation and replace any equipment deemed unreliable or unsafe.Any commuters who were injured in this accident, should consul with a personal injury attorney to find out what compensation they may be entitled to.


Exchange Place PATH station, NJ

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Potentially Helpful Info:

Our firm has published an in-depth legal guide on what to do when you’re child has been seriously injured in Virginia (VA). Read it here.

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