A 48-year-old woman died Thursday morning in the Fabre métro station after it appears her scarf and then her hair got caught in the teeth of the escalator. She was apparently strangled by her scarf.
The incident, which has been deemed an accident by Montreal police, occurred at 9:15 a.m. at the station on the corner of Jean Talon Street East and Fabre Street in the Villeray district, said Constable Jean-Pierre Brabant.
“The woman’s scarf got caught in the escalator and then she bent down to try to get it out and her hair got stuck, too,” Brabant said. “A bystander called 911 and by the time police arrived, she was declared dead,” by an Urgences-Santé paramedic.
“We got a call a little after 9 a.m. that there was a woman found at the bottom of an escalator, trapped, and that there was an article of clothing involved,” said Robert Lamle, a spokesperson with Urgences-Santé. “The woman was in cardiac arrest."
“The firefighters, first responders, got there first and began resuscitation efforts. Our technicians arrived and took over but it was not viable and the woman was declared dead,” Lamle said.
There is an emergency stop button at the top and bottom of the escalator, which is the case for all escalators serving the métro system. Brabant said he did not know whether anyone pressed the stop button while the woman was struggling. He said a witness, whom police are looking for, used an STM emergency phone to call for help. He asked anyone else who witnessed the incident to call police.
An engineer who has been working on these mechanisms for the Sociéte de Transport Montreal for the past nine years told The Gazette escalators are equipped with safety mechanisms that are supposed to prevent this kind of accident.