Elderly woman dies as neck caught under Tokyo store’s escalator rail

A woman in her 80s died Wednesday after her neck became trapped under the handrail at the bottom of an escalator at a supermarket in Tokyo, police said, in the latest accident of its kind in recent months.

Security camera footage from the store in Nishitokyo, western Tokyo, shows the woman fell as she attempted to lift the walker she was using as she approached the bottom of the escalator. Her neck then became trapped between the underside of the handrail and the floor.

Photo taken on June 12, 2024, shows the escalator at a supermarket in Nishitokyo, western Tokyo, where police say an woman in her 80s died earlier after her neck became trapped under the handrail at the bottom. (Kyodo)

The store operator, OK Corp., said in a release that it will cooperate fully with police, and offered its condolences. The escalator was newly installed for the store’s opening in March, and no issues were found with the installment or with how it was checked, it said.

The accident follows a March incident in JR Mito Station, northeast of Tokyo, in which a man in his 70s died from suffocation after his suit jacket became ensnared in an escalator handrail.

From 2010 to May 2023, a total of 54 escalator-related accidents, some involving serious injury or death, were reported by municipal authorities and other sources to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.


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