As I was walking along Market street at around 2pm today, I was surprised to see Hallidie Plaza surrounded by yellow police tape on the northwest side as well as access to the Bart/Muni station closed from that side. As I approached the balcony overlooking the plaza I saw a dozen policemen, a couple of people in Muni uniforms and a few others in plainclothes gathered by the escalators discussing something. They were too far away to ask for details, and other onlookers were speculating about a shooting. Right before I left a homeless-looking guy (he had a Safeway cart) told me that the jacket of a middle-aged man had been caught in the escalator and had died due to head injuries. In the picture below, you can see what looks like the remains of some of his clothes at the bottom of the escalator.
Once I got home, the Examiner had more details about the fatal incident, saying that the cause of death seems to have been some unknown medical condition. However, it seems police are not sure about what exactly happened and are still talking to witnesses. So, just to reconfirm anyone’s childhood fears (like I had) of getting caught in in escalator and it somehow leading to your death, it appears that it can and does indeed happen. From now on I’ll be taking the regular stairs.