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Woman killed in Kagawa Pref. by wheelchair tumbling down store escalator

TAKAMATSU -- A 76-year-old woman died on July 10 after being struck by a wheelchair and two people falling down a store escalator here.

    The accident occurred at about 10:40 a.m., when an 81-year-old man boarded an escalator at a Nitori furniture shop with his 79-year-old wife, who was in a wheelchair, and fell near the top. He, his wife and the wheelchair tumbled down the steps and crashed into Kiyomi Watanabe. Watanabe passed away from her injuries about eight hours later. The woman in the wheelchair sustained broken ribs, and her husband was slightly hurt.

    Kagawa Prefectural Police are questioning the 81-year-old man on suspicion of negligence resulting in death.

    According to police, the escalator connected the store's second and third floors, which are about 5 meters apart. The deceased woman and the elderly couple were the only people on the escalator at the time of the accident, apparently triggered when the husband lost his balance close to the third floor landing. There is a sign at the scene warning customers not to take baby strollers or wheelchairs onto the escalator, and there is an elevator connecting the floors at the store.

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