Woman dies after scarf, hair get caught in Montreal subway escalator

A woman died Thursday after her scarf and her hair got caught in the teeth of a Montreal metro escalator and the scarf then apparently strangled her.

The Montreal Gazette reports that the incident occurred when the 48-year-old’s scarf got caught in the escalator Thursday morning.

“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,” Constable Jean-Pierre Brabant told The Gazette.

“A bystander called 911 and by the time police arrived, she was declared dead.”

The Gazette said she apparently was strangled by the scarf.

Bob Lamle, a spokesman for Montreal's ambulance service, said Thursday he had never seen anything like it in his 30-year career.

“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, as in all escalators serving the system. Constable Brabant said he did not know whether anyone pressed the stop button while the woman, who was not identified, struggled.

Metro users were shocked by the news that someone could die while doing something most of them do several times a day.

“Personally, I’m really traumatized because I use that escalator every day,” 13-year-old Philippe Silyutintold The Gazette as he was standing with friends outside the Fabre station entrance while police investigated. “I will be very careful now about any threads hanging down or shoe laces, for sure.”

An engineer who has been working on the escalators for the past nine years told The Gazette they are equipped with safety mechanisms that are supposed to prevent this kind of accident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.