Woman strangled to death after scarf caught in train station escalator

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A Canadian woman has died in a freak accident after she was strangled when her scarf and hair became caught in a Montreal train station escalator.

The 48-year-old woman got caught in the escalator at the Fabre Metro station at around 9.15am on Thursday.

The entrance to the Metro remained closed for several hours as police interviewed witnesses.

One onlooker, Bassam Joubarani, was making his way toward the exit of the Fabre Metro station when he saw the woman lying unconscious at the bottom of the escalators. He said two other passengers rushed to try and help her, and one called emergency services.

He told cbc.ca: "Half her body [was] on the floor, and less than half her body was on the stairs.

"She was laying on her back.... Her face was normal colour and she was breathing."

But police said the woman was in cardiac arrest when firefighters and paramedics arrived, and she was declared dead at the scene

Constable Jean-Pierre Brabant of the Montreal police said: "While she was trying to pull up her scarf from the escalator, her hair got caught too and from there, everything got tied up at the end of the escalators.

"She got strangled ... and the woman passed away on scene."

According to the Daily Mail, each escalator in Montreal's subway stations has a pair of STOP buttons at the top and bottom of the stairs. It is not known at this time if anyone tried to press them.

An engineer who has been working on these mechanisms for the Sociéte de Transport Montreal (STM) for the past nine years also told the Montreal Gazette the escalators are equipped with safety mechanisms that are supposed to prevent this kind of accident.

Amélie Régis, a spokesperson for STM, offered her condolences to the woman's family, but said the STM could not comment further while the incident is being investigated.

The STM is co-operating fully with police, she added.

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