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Trip and fall on Brooklyn escalator takes down around 40 shoppers

It was the Tuesday before Christmas, and the Atlantic Terminal mall in Brooklyn was full of busy, frantic shoppers. Holiday cheer was thin on the ground, however, when one shopper tripped on a busy escalator and pulled about 40 other people down, too.

The incident took place on an escalator that leads to the mall's Target store. According to an eyewitness interviewed by 4 New York, the estimated 40 people had collapsed on the escalator and lay stunned and injured for some time.

"It was just a lot of chaos -- people hurt, screaming," commented a woman who had seen the aftermath.

One shopper said the escalator had malfunctioned. She likened the incident to yanking a roll of toilet paper: "the escalator yanked people, catapulting them right on top of each other."

Another thought the whole escalator had collapsed. "We just heard a whole bunch of screams, and then we heard a whole bunch of what sounds like bodies just dropping," she said.

4 New York reporters attempted to contact the mall officials but got no response by press time. EMTs arrived at the mall around 6 p.m. and transported seven people to area hospitals -- two in serious but stable condition.

It's difficult to imagine a single person's misstep cascading into a collapsing heap of human beings. The reporters provided no additional information on whether the escalator showed signs of having malfunctioned.

If something unusual about the escalator caused the shopper to trip, the mall may be responsible for the injuries that occurred. Failure to properly maintain the escalator, heavy use, or even a small object becoming trapped in the machine could create a trip hazard. Property owners and managers who are negligent in maintenance or repairs may be liable if their negligence causes an accident like this one.

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