A bizarre accident involving an out-of-control escalator in a Rome subway station on Tuesday spawned a frightening video of the incident that quickly went viral online, according to the news and pop culture site Inverse. The bizarre video shows the escalator in the Italian capital’s Repubblica public transit station suddenly speeding in a downward direction, launching passengers into a crowd of people at the bottom of the moving staircase.
The escalator malfunction, authorities believe, was triggered by dozens of Russian soccer fans who were in Rome on their way to a UEFA Champions League match between the Russian club CSKA Moscow and Italian team AS Roma which was played Tuesday night at Rome’s Olympic Stadium, as The Guardian newspaper reported. One Italian politician, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, attributed the mishap to “dozens of drunkards making a big mess.”
“More than 20 people were hurt,” The New York Times reported, citing first responders on the scene of the subway station chaos. “Some of the injuries resulted because the shattered stairs acted like sharp blades on the feet, heels, ankles and lower legs of the passengers.”
One Russian soccer fan suffered a severe injury that required a foot to be partially amputated, according to a BBC report. View the alarming viral escalator video, courtesy of NBC News, below.
While the escalator video was reminiscent of a similar incident involving soccer fans on an escalator in Sweden five years ago, the Rome accident appears to have been caused by a malfunction of the escalator mechanism due to overloading. In the 2013 Swedish incident, according to the sports site NESN, police deliberately accelerated an escalator to prevent fans of two rival soccer teams from starting a riot in a subway station.
View the 2013 video of the Swedish incident, below.
While according to The Guardian report on Tuesday’s Rome mishap, escalators in subway stations there are designed for a lifespan of 30 years, the escalator that appears to have given way on Tuesday was less than 10-years-old. Sources quoted in the Italian media have blamed “maintenance negligence” for the terrifying escalator malfunction.
As The Guardian reported, the escalator accident comes amid an ongoing crisis in Rome that has sparked protests over what demonstrators say is the decaying state of the city’s infrastructure.
“As we await outcome of the investigations, bewilderment among Rome residents is increasing,” Emma Amiconi, a protest organizer said in the Italian media. “Without prevention and maintenance, a city like Rome cannot survive. We want a welcoming, safe and hospitable city.”