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Giants Stadium gets inspection

Officials investigating escalator crash that injured 7

Posted: Monday December 31, 2007 8:30PM; Updated: Monday December 31, 2007 9:09PM


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- State and private officials conducted a preliminary inspection Monday of an escalator that malfunctioned at Giants Stadium this weekend, injuring seven people after the Giants-Patriots game.


Officials from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the Department of Community Affairs and the Schindler Elevator Corp. inspected the upper-tier escalator at Gate A, where the malfunction occurred Saturday night.


"We just did a quick visual inspection to see if there was anything obvious to the eye," said Jim Minish, executive vice president of facilities for the NJSEA, which operates the stadium. He said the investigation would resume later this week or early next week.


Of the seven people injured, two were treated at the scene and released and five were taken to Hackensack University Medical Center. Three remained hospitalized Monday, according to hospital spokeswoman Nancy Radwin.


She declined to give details on their conditions, citing hospital policy.


According to Minish, all escalators were inspected and upgraded in 2000 after a similar malfunction involving a different upper-tier escalator at Gate A. He said the escalators' safety systems -- specifically the sensors and emergency braking systems that are activated if an escalator is moving too fast -- also were upgraded in 2003 and 2004.


All escalators are inspected twice yearly by the state Department of Community Affairs and were last inspected in August, Minish said.


A phone message left Monday at Schindler's North American headquarters in Morristown was not returned.


Although investigators have not determined the cause of the malfunction, Minish said it appeared to have occurred when the escalator suddenly sped up, then stopped, causing one or more of the bottom steps to buckle and come off its track.


The escalator was closed immediately after the incident.


Saturday night's accident was similar to an escalator malfunction at Denver's Coors Field in 2003 that injured more than 30 people, including one woman who lost her leg. An investigation later found the three-story escalator had operated for six months without a permit, though it passed an inspection two days before the accident.

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