EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A football fan was fighting for his life late Sunday night, after falling at least 21 feet from a MetLife Stadium escalator.

As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, in the hours following the Giants’ game against the Washington Redskins, the ones in the sports bars around the stadium counted themselves lucky. They had learned that the 42-year-old man had left the stadium in critical condition after falling over a railing off a set of escalators at the Verizon gate.

Early reports indicated that he fell 21 feet, but Carlin reported the fall was more than 30 feet.

Giants fan Billie Caprara said she saw “just a bunch of ambulances and police and all that – I mean, you feel bad for him.”

New Jersey State Police Sgt. Adam Grossman described the sequence of events.

“At approximately 4:07 p.m. today, a 42-year-old male was leaving the football game, exiting down an escalator, and for unknown reasons, fell off the side of the escalator onto a metal stage,” Grossman said.

With the escalator closed off and guarded, the man was airlifted to Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, with life-threatening head injuries.

There was no word on what led up to the incident, including the man’s state of mind.

The Giants beat the Redskins 27-23 Sunday, after Eli Manning threw a 77-yard scoring pass to Victor Cruz with just 1:13 left to play.

But with Giants fans’ celebrating their team’s come-from-behind victory, they also worried about what was witnessed by so many.

One fan, “SportsFan1970,” left a comment on CBS New York’s story: “I was on first level escalator and heard a long a bang. Got to the bottom and saw the man. Blood rushing from head. Legs twisted. I thought he was dead. My brother said he was barely breathing.”

MetLife Stadium opened two years ago, replacing the old Giants Stadium.

Back in 2007 at the old stadium, eight football fans were injured when an escalator suddenly accelerated.

“In 2007, a lot of people did get hurt on the escalator,” a fan recalled. “After that, they shut that one down.”

Football fans know the rush to get out into the parking lot or onto a train can become dangerous.

“They want to beat the rush to get out of the building, you know,” the fan said. “There’s a lot going on at the end of the game.”

Fans expressed hope that as this season and the investigation roll on, crowds will roll out of the games with greater caution.

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