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Man in Wheelchair Dies After Falling Down Escalator in Metro Station: 'His Legs Were All Bloody'

A man in a wheelchair died on Wednesday after falling down an escalator at Washington, D.C.’s Columbia Heights Metro station, PEOPLE confirms.

The man, whose identity has not been made public, died at a local hospital after he and his motorized wheelchair fell after nearly reaching the top of the escalator as he attempted to leave the station around 1:30 p.m. local time.

“A review of camera footage revealed that … the man went to the elevator, pressed the button, waited maybe 10 to 15 seconds for the elevator,” a Metro spokesperson tells PEOPLE, noting that the elevator was fully functional. “Then he decided to use the escalator instead. He wheeled onto the escalator and held onto the hand rails.”

“He was critically injured,” the spokesperson adds.

The man fell backward in the wheelchair and landed at the bottom of the escalator, the spokesperson says. Several witnesses rushed to his aid.

“I seen the guy laid out. I saw his legs was all bloody. Really bad,” a witness, Shaun Stepney, told WRC. “I saw about 10 people crowded around him.”

A spokesperson for the D.C. medical examiner’s office would not reveal the man’s identity, noting that the “case is pending.”

Authorities said the man was unconscious when first responders arrived, according to WTOP. Another passenger was struck by the falling wheelchair and suffered minor injuries, according to the station.

D.C.’s Metro is considered one of the nation’s most accessible transit services, according to the Washington Post. A recent Metro performance report noted that elevator availability was at 97 percent between July 2017 and June 2018, the Post reported.

However, some with disabilities have claimed they often find elevators at the stations not working properly. Social media users have alleged that the report “meaningless,” writing of “elevator closures wreaking havoc on lives.”

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