Debenhams escalator fall: Woman seriously injured after plummeting from fourth-floor

A witness saw shoppers "screaming and running" during the incident 

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The Independent Online

A woman has been seriously injured after plummeting from a fourth-floor escalator at a central London department store in front of screaming shoppers.

The woman, who a witness said was in her 20s, fell past others on the moving staircase in the Oxford Circus branch of Debenhams on Sunday afternoon, and is believed to have landed on a large advertising sign in the store’s basement.

Police said she was rushed to a London hospital, where she is being treated for serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.

The incident comes just a year after a man fell from the escalators at the store and died.

Lorena Aliaga, 28, whose mother works in Debenhams, was chatting next to the cashiers’ desk during a shopping trip when she heard “people screaming and running.” 

“The supervisor said 'Oh no, not again!'” she told the Press Association, adding: “I just ran into the stairs and saw the girl laid on the basement floor with a few people around.

“Her body was facing up and her legs sideways. She was young, in her 20s. People were shocked so we decided to get out of there. It was horrible,” said Ms Aliaga.

Other shoppers at the store during the incident later took to Twitter, with one expressing their anger that the Debenhams did not close following the incident.

A Debenhams spokeswoman confirmed the incident, and said a store manager accompanied the woman to hospital.

“Debenhams is working with the relevant authorities to conduct a full investigation into the matter," she said. 

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said that inquiries are on-going, and that the incident is not being treated as suspicious.

Additional reporting by Press Association