Multiple news sources are reporting that at around 9 a.m. Monday, January 7, 2013, an escalator at the Exchange Place PATH station malfunctioned while numerous commuters were on board, leading to several injuries.
The incident, which was partially caught on video and posted to YouTube (below), depicts one of the station’s escalators, which was running upwards, suddenly reversed direction, as passengers piled up at the bottom and others tried to walk upwards to avoid getting dumped at the bottom landing. At least one man in the video appeared to have jumped on and clung to the balustrade between the escalators.
Reports regarding the number of victims were inconsistent, but it appears that between four and six victims suffered mostly minor injuries such as cuts and bruises, although at least one victim was hospitalized. The end of the YouTube video appears to depict a woman screaming in pain, although she was not seen on screen and the extent of her injuries remained unclear. Also, it appears that at some point after the malfunction started, the escalator stopped. It was not clear whether it was stopped because the malfunction tripped a built-in safety device or if someone activated the emergency stop switch.
The station has three 150-foot long escalators that provide access to and from the subway platform 75-feet below street level. The escalators are maintained by Schindler.
The station was badly flooded during Hurricane Sandy, although it was not known whether flood damage may have been a factor in this incident. One of the escalators was still out of service at the time of the incident, which now leaves the station with one functioning escalator.