Several hurt on escalator at Back Bay MBTA station

By Christopher J. Girard
Globe Correspondent / June 20, 2011

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An escalator at Back Bay Station malfunctioned shortly before the start of Saturday’s Bruins parade, causing a pileup of people, some of whom sustained minor injuries, according to a woman who said she had cuts and bruises from the incident.

The escalator, which led upstairs from Track 2 of the commuter rail platform, suddenly stopped, briefly lurched forward, and then rapidly went into reverse for five to 10 seconds before stopping, knocking people into a pile at the bottom of the escalator, said Jennifer Nottage, 32, of Attleboro.

The incident happened between 10 and 10:30 a.m., said Nottage, who told the Globe yesterday her left leg was briefly caught between two stairs and has a bruise the size of a cantaloupe.

“It went down very, very fast. I’ve never seen anything like it,’’ Nottage said. “Because it was full, there was nowhere to go, and people fell on us and we fell on people.’’

A spokesman for the MBTA said yesterday that the agency is investigating the reported malfunction and the escalator will remain out of service pending the completion of the inquiry.

“Five people were treated at the scene for cuts and abrasions,’’ MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo wrote in a statement to the Globe yesterday.

Transit Police were on the scene immediately and summoned paramedics, according to Pesaturo. No one was taken to the hospital, he said.

The MBTA is investigating whether the escalator had past problems and whether it was up to date with safety inspections, according to Pesaturo.

Nottage said she had ridden the commuter rail from South Attleboro to Back Bay Station with her two children, Alyana Nottage, 6, and Elijah Lewis, 12.

After the escalator went into reverse, Nottage said, she lifted her daughter above the pile of people, while the girl clung to the handrail and rode to the top of the escalator. Alyana had minor scratches on her legs, the mother said.

Elijah’s right foot was caught in the escalator, Nottage said, and he has cuts and bruises on his ankle, which is swollen.

After paramedics cleaned their cuts, Nottage said, the family watched the parade and went to the emergency room when they got home.

Christopher J. Girard can be reached at