Woman Falls Down Subway Escalator

After seizure, 52-year-old woman slips; clothes caught in moving stairs

A woman was seriously injured last night after suffering a seizure and falling while riding the escalator out of the Harvard Square T station.

The 52-year-old woman lost consciousness, and, unable to get up, was caught in the escalator’s machinery, according to MBTA police Lt. Salvatore L. Venturelli.

The escalator’s emergency shut-off mechanism operated as designed and stopped the escalator when it became jammed, Venturelli said.

Venturelli said the seizure was probably the result of a prior medical condition.

MBTA police Sgt. Sean Reynolds said officers were initially dispatched to the scene at 6:48 p.m. They were joined by at least three Cambridge Fire Department (CFD) engines, a CFD special unit, two ambulances, and several squad cars from the Cambridge and Harvard University Police Departments.

The woman was taken by ambulance to Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Hospital, where she was being treated last night.

Reynolds said the woman was still alive as of 9:45 p.m. yesterday. He said the authorities were withholding the woman’s name pending notification of her next of kin.

One eyewitness to the event, who wished to be identified as “Pumpkin the Rat,” said she was standing in view of the escalator when the woman fell.

She said that at approximately 6:40 p.m. she saw the woman fall backward down the escalator, hitting her head several times along the way. Immediately after the fall, a few bystanders came to the women’s aid and called 911, Pumpkin said.

Pumpkin said attempts to revive the woman continued for at least 15 minutes, but that her hands were blue when she was put loaded an ambulance.

The Cambridge Police Department referred all questions to the MBTA police.

The incident comes exactly one week after an unidentified man attempted suicide by jumping onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train at the Harvard Square T station.

—Staff writer Jamison A. Hill can be reached at jahill@fas.harvard.edu.