Pregnant Mom Recounts Terrifying Escalator Ordeal At Vancouver Airport

February 20, 2018
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A mother from Calgary is calling for increased awareness around escalator safety after her son’s leg became stuck and broken in an escalator at Vancouver International Airport.

Andrea Diaczok was getting ready to fly back to Calgary last Friday with her husband and their two-year-old son Julian after visiting family in Vancouver when the return trip took a terrifying turn as Julian’s boot got stuck between the railing and the stairs halfway down the escalator.

His whole boot basically disappeared,” Diaczok said of the harrowing experience. “The teeth bit onto his toe midway … so I couldn’t hit the stop so I started screaming for help.”

By the time that someone pushed the emergency stop on the escalator, Diaczok said they were only a few steps away from the bottom.

Diaczok and her husband both work in the medical field and were prepared for the worst.

“It twisted his leg around and broke his leg and then the entire foot of the boot disappeared in the side of the escalator,” she said.

I didn’t even know if his foot was there … I didn’t know if there’s only a stump there at this point.”

To make things even worse, Diaczok is currently 22 weeks pregnant with the couple’s second child. She says that she did everything she could to try and pull her son free from the escalator but it took some help from a pair of scissors, some bystanders and airport employees to free her child.

Diaczok said that she’s been teaching her boy about safety precautions at the tops and bottom of escalators but wasn’t prepared for him becoming stuck halfway down.

“He hops at the top, he hops at the bottom,” she said. “We make a game of it, ‘don’t touch this part, always step over.’ But I’ve never heard of (getting stuck) in the sides.”

Jody Armstrong, a spokeswoman with the Vancouver Airport Authority, said that safety is a top priority and an investigation into the incident is underway.

The family is back in Calgary and Diaczok says her son is recovering. While Julian suffered a broken leg as well as some cuts and some bruises, Andrea said the incident could have been so much worse.

“He’s good but I would say he’s lucky,” she said. “I can imagine a bare foot and a little foam flip flop. Yes, his boot got stuck, but it also gave him a little bit of protection.”

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