20 hurt as Rome escalator packed with Russian soccer fans goes haywire, accelerating out of control
- Witnesses spoke of football fans, seemingly drunk, jumping and dancing on the escalator just before its collapse
More than 20 people, mainly Russian football fans, were injured on Tuesday when an escalator in a subway station in central Rome collapsed, firefighters said.
Most of those hurt, one seriously, suffered leg injuries after getting tangled in the escalator’s mangled mechanics, Italian media said.
A video of the drama shows the descending escalator at Repubblica station suddenly and dramatically pick up speed with dozens of people on it, many screaming as they piled on top of each other at the foot of the moving stairway.
Media reports said witnesses spoke of football fans, seemingly drunk, jumping and dancing on the escalator just before it collapsed, but supporters denied that.
“In any event, we are here to understand what happened and to offer our support to the wounded and their families,” Rome mayor Virginia Raggi told journalists at the scene.
Victims were seen wrapped in blankets and some wore neck braces as they were taken away on stretchers by emergency crews.
Several investigations have been opened, and the station near Rome’s Termini railway station was closed.
The incident took place before the kick-off of a Champions League match between Italy’s Roma and Russian club CSKA Moscow.
The Russian fans were heading for the station to get the train to the stadium.
There was heightened security in Rome for some 1,500 Russian supporters who were expected to watch the game.
According to Italian media, there were various incidents around the stadium. One Russian fan was stabbed and two others were hurt in clashes with other supporters.
Roma won the group stage match 3-0, tweeting after the match that: “The thoughts of everyone at #ASRoma are with the supporters injured prior to tonight’s game. The club will do everything it can to provide the right support and assistance to those in need.”
Red-Blue World, a CSKA fan group, set up a collection fund for those injured, as well as fans hurt in violence near the stadium.
Rome’s public transport is often accused of being poorly equipped.
In recent years, more than a dozen public buses have caught fire, with several reports of subway passengers injured by malfunctioning hardware.
A massive bridge collapse in Genoa in August – which killed 43 people – also raised safety questions about Italy’s transport infrastructure.
Incidents on escalators have caused injuries – even deaths – around the world.
In 2015, a woman was killed after she plunged through flooring over an escalator in a department store in China. Security camera footage showed a panel in the floor giving way as the woman stepped off the escalator. As she fell, she pushed her son forward and a nearby shop assistant dragged him to safety.
In March 2017, around 20 people were injured in a Hong Kong shopping centre when an escalator suddenly changed direction, sending people hurtling down it.