The VICE Guide to Right Now

Video Shows Terrifying Escalator Accident in Rome That Injured at Least 20

Cellphone footage shows the machine going haywire and suddenly speeding up, sending dozens of people hurtling down the steps.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, United States
October 23, 2018, 9:06pm
The broken escalator in Rome's Repubblica subway station
Photo via Vigili del Fuoco / Twitter

About 80 people were packed shoulder-to-shoulder on an escalator in Rome on Tuesday when the thing suddenly malfunctioned, lurched to a breakneck speed, and sent them hurtling toward the base of the stairs. The accident, which looked like something out of Final Destination, wound up injuring more than 20 people, the UK's Daily Express reports.

Dozens of soccer fans riding the escalator—most of whom were apparently Russians on their way to a game between CSKA Moscow and AS Roma—were reportedly raising hell, screaming, chanting, and jumping up and down en route to a local stadium. Apparently that's what broke the machine in Rome's Repubblica subway station, which devolved into a nightmare as people flew down the stairs and started piling up on top of each other.

According to the Express, several people got caught between the metal steps that splintered apart at the base of the elevator, which wound up covered in blood, judging by photos from the aftermath of the accident. One man reportedly had to have his foot amputated—and while the Express reports at least five people were in critical condition, Italian police told Reuters only one person was seriously hurt.

It's far from the first time an escalator has suddenly transformed from a convenient, safe way to get from A to B into a terrifying death trap. Back in 2015, two people had to have amputations and one woman died after a string of escalator accidents occurred in China within a few days of each other. And just last week, a man was strangled by his own shirt after it got caught in an escalator in the New York City subway.

According to the Vigili del Fuoco, Italy's fire and rescue agency, everyone injured in Tuesday's accident has since been "rescued" and taken to the hospital. Meanwhile, Repubblica has been closed off to the public, and local authorities are still conducting "safety intervention" at the subway station.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.