Family in 'Puddle of Blood' Escalator Malfunction in Boston Sue Contractor, Transit Agency

A family that was injured following an escalator malfunction last Sunday at a Boston rail station is suing the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) and a contractor tasked with maintaining the escalator.

The Louisiana family—Karson and Holly Bethay and their two children—suffered multiple fractures and "extensive" lacerations to the face, scalp and head, according to the Boston Globe, which cited the lawsuit filed in a Massachusetts Superior Court on Thursday.

The two-count lawsuit alleges that the contractor, KONE Inc., was "negligent and careless" in inspecting and maintaining the escalator, the Globe reports.

It also asks the courts to temporarily bar the MBTA and KONE from repairing the damaged escalator or disposing of its parts, and calls for the preservation surveillance video and records related to the the incident, the newspaper reported.

Family Sues Agency, Contractor After Escalator Malfunction
A family that was injured following an escalator malfunction last Sunday at a Boston rail station is suing the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) and a contractor tasked with maintaining the escalator. Above, a view inside the MBTA Park Street station on March 29, 2020 in Boston. Maddie Meyer

The incident last Sunday, which took place at the MBTA's Back Bay T station around 6 p.m., sent nine people to the hospital.

Those who saw the incident, and the family filing suit, said that the escalator quickly reversed direction, causing people to slide and fall down to the bottom.

"This little girl at the bottom, she had most of the side of her face gone, and her ear was almost off her head," Claire Maia told CBS Boston. "And her mother had part of her scalp missing."

Another, witness, Eli Smith, described the incident to NBC Boston. He said that at first, he thought there had been a shooting after seeing people covered in blood.

"There was a whole bunch of commotion coming from this escalator, so out of pure curiosity I go over and look and there was like four people laying down and like a puddle of blood at the end of the escalator," Smith said.

The MBTA declined to comment on the lawsuit, but it said that "the cause of the incident remains under investigation."

In a statement sent to Newsweek, KONE said: "Safety is KONE's top priority and our thoughts go out to those who were injured. KONE routinely inspects and maintains units in full alignment with industry regulatory requirements and contractual agreements with each customer."

The company added that the Back Bay escalator unit passed a state inspection that was performed on July 30.

"We continue to collaborate with MBTA to investigate the issue and recently learned of the pending lawsuit. As a matter of policy, we cannot comment on pending litigation," the company said.