A woman was strangled Thursday after her scarf and then her hair got caught in the mechanism of a Montreal subway escalator as the moving staircase rolled toward the platform.
A spokesman for the city's ambulance service said he's never seen anything like it in his 30-year career.
"We see accidents in escalators, but I don't recall a situation like this where somebody was physically trapped in the mechanism," said Bob Lamle, a division chief for Urgences-sante.
The ambulance service has received several calls about people falling in the subway, he noted.
Police say the victim was a 48-year-old woman. Earlier reports said she was 47.
Firefighters were first on the scene, followed by paramedics.
"By the time our people arrived, it had stopped and she was at the bottom of the escalator," Lamle told reporters outside the Fabre subway station in the city's north end.
"What they found was a woman. . . who was clearly trapped," he said. "She was lying on her back."
He said firefighters and paramedics immediately tried to revive her but were unsuccessful. A doctor then declared her dead on the scene.
The accident happened at around 9:15 a.m., during the morning rush hour.
"There were people who saw this and tried to help," Lamle said.
A Montreal police spokesman said the woman was travelling down the escalator toward the subway platform when her scarf was trapped.
"She took the escalator to descend toward the metro (subway train) and, at a certain point, her scarf got caught in the mobile escalator," Jean-Pierre Brabant said.
"She was going down the escalator, her scarf remained stuck, and she tried to pull on the scarf to try to get it out and her hair also got stuck."