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I had an escaltor accident. The power failed and I was stuck on the escaltor for 2 hours :)
How in the world could people panic on an escalator? Sounds to me like there were a bunch of ambulance chasers nearby handing out business cards to those on the escalator...
This happened at a busy rail station during rush hour. According to the article people had to walk up 128 steps to get out after the escalator was shut down. That is five or six stories. One can imagine a train-load of people heading to the escalator to leave only to find that none of them are going up. Meanwhile an escalator with dozens of people facing backwards is moving into what is now a dead end. It does not take much imagination to see that trouble is imminent.
This is one reason every escalator has an emergency stop button. If you see a situation like this you should push the button.
For an example of what this situation would be like, you can search YouTube for "Raw Video: Escalator Accident in Japan". It looks like the exact same situation. The escalator suddenly reversed direction. People at the base fell down before they knew what was happening. It was very difficult for people to get out of the way as more people were pushed down the escalator.
Some searching also turns up other similar accidents. One has to wonder how common this sort of thing is.
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