On Wednesday, May 15, 2013, around 1 p.m., approximately 20 people suffered mostly minor injuries when an escalator at Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, malfunctioned and suddenly reversed direction uncontrollably, causing passengers to be dumped at the bottom landing. Fourteen of the victims were hospitalized; the remaining six were treated at the scene. The convention center was hosting a group of Dish Network employees at the time of the incident.
According to eyewitnesses, the employees had just concluded their lunch break and were returning to their meeting when the incident occurred. Eyewitnesses also described seeing an escalator mechanic working on the escalator before the incident occurred.
A spokesperson for the City of San Antonio revealed that KONE is the contractor responsible for the escalators are the convention center. The spokesperson also confirmed that KONE was on-site during the event which is “normal procedure during large conventions,” however they did not confirm eyewitness reports of KONE servicing the incident escalator earlier that day.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations is investigating the incident but has not released any statement regarding the cause. A follow-up story by KENS5 San Antonio noted that numerous lawsuits had already been filed against the city.
Sources reporting this incident include:
WOAI News 4 San Antonio – 20 people hurt in escalator accident at Convention Center
KENS5 San Antonio – City faces lawsuits following escalator malfunction
ABC News KVUE – 15 people injured in San Antonio escalator accident
CBS News 9 WAFB – Escalator accident sends people flying, some to hospital
KENS5 San Antonio – 14 people hospitalized after escalator reverses at convention center
KSAT San Antonio – Injuries reported in San Antonio Convention Center escalator accident
The story was widely reported by local television news stations. Where available, the reports are embedded below.
NBC News 4 San Antonio spoke with a number of eyewitnesses for their evening broadcast:
An early report from KSAT-TV, an ABC affiliate in San Antonio:
KENS5 San Antonio evening report: