Same Escalator Was Scene Of Fatal Fall In February


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two men suffered minor injuries when an escalator malfunctioned at the World Trade Center Oculus on Thursday morning.

The escalator is out of commission after the men fell when several of the stair treads buckled around 7 a.m., according to Port Authority.

They were able to walk out of the hub into a waiting ambulance and were taken to New York Downtown Hospital.

The escalator has been shut down as crews make repairs and work to determine the cause, the Port Authority said. It’s the escalator going down just to the left of the Apple store, leading from just below the street level entrance to the Oculus from Greenwich Street.

The mutli-billion dollar transportation hub opened just last year and the malfunction is raising concerns.

“It’s a bit worrying,” one man said.

“That shouldn’t be happening,” one woman said. “It was billions of taxpayer dollars, then it should be working all the time.”

“There’s a lot of people here that visit this place 24/7 — kids, adults,” a man said. “They just opened months ago. That’s my main concern. I work here.”

“Oh my God so we really have to take extra care,” said Gigi Pappalardo, who is in and out of the Oculus every day, and often uses the escalator. “Especially when I’m in a hurry, so I rush and I just run. Everybody’s rushing here in New York.”

“I think it’s a bad experience for everybody because it’s a gorgeous building and it shouldn’t happen,” said Antoinette Constantino, who was visiting the Oculus for the first time Thursday.

However, one New Yorker CBS2’s Erin Logan talked to said things break and he doesn’t understand all the concern.

“You could have the new stuff today and tomorrow it could go bad, or you could have that same thing for 10 years and it would not go wrong,” Marvin Ramnautch said.

Port Authority Police and World Trade Center Operations are investigating.

The Port Authority referred CBS2 to Otis Elevator, the company that installs and maintains the escalators. Otis said in part, “our thoughts are with those injured as a result of this incident, and we wish them a quick and complete recovery.”

The escalator involved in Thursday’s incident was the site of a fatal fall in February. In that case, a 29-year-old New Jersey woman plunged about 30 feet to her death off the escalator while trying to retrieve her twin sister’s hat. That incident did not involve an escalator malfunction.

The Port Authority said the escalator will not yet be fixed by Friday morning.