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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

6 Germans Trip Down Escalator

MTPassengers riding the escalators at the Ploshchad Revolyutsii metro station, where the accident occurred Wednesday night.
Six elderly German tourists and their Russian interpreter landed in the hospital after tumbling down an escalator at the Ploshchad Revolyutsii metro station while taking a sightseeing tour of Moscow.

The accident happened at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday in the downtown metro station while a group of seven tourists and their interpreter were going up the escalator toward the Nikolskaya Ulitsa exit, Interfax reported.

One of the Germans, apparently caught off guard by the speed of the metro escalators, stumbled, causing the others to fall as well.

Emergency workers treated the group for their cuts and bruises on the spot before rushing six of the Germans and the interpreter off to the Botkin hospital for tests.

Heinz Krueger, 82, who suffered several bruised ribs, was the only one who remained in the hospital Thursday, hospital officials said.

Ward doctor Lidia Solovyova said Krueger was somewhat distressed but in satisfactory condition. She said he would have to stay in hospital for up to a week.

"He is really worried about his wife," she said, adding it was because he had not heard from her.

Another hospital official said Krueger's wife apparently was hospitalized after the accident and later released.

The German Embassy could not comment on the accident Thursday, saying it had not been in contact with the tourists and had only learned about it from media inquiries Thursday.

The German tourists were part of a tour group that was expected to leave Thursday evening for St. Petersburg aboard the Vasily Surikov, a cruise ship, hospital officials said.

The police said the tourists had not heeded the rules for riding the escalator, Interfax reported. Among others, the metro rules say that passengers must stand on the right side and should not step on the yellow line or lean against the escalator's immovable parts.

The Moscow metro is known for having some of the fastest escalators in the world, traveling at about 0.6 to 0.9 meters per second.

Most accidents in the metro, however, take place when people -- usually intoxicated or suicidal -- fall or jump onto the train tracks.

Accidents on the escalators are unusual, metro officials said. In April, two people had their toes crushed when their feet got caught at the top of the escalator.

A 4-year-old boy had to have his leg amputated after he was dragged into an escalator at the Marxistskaya metro station in October 2001.

The worst metro accident involving escalators was on Feb 17, 1982, when eight people were killed and 30 injured at the Aviamotornaya metro station. A malfunction caused an escalator motor to break and the brakes to fail, throwing passengers onto each other at the bottom of the escalator. To avoid falling, people climbed on top of the dividers between the escalators. But the dividers proved too weak to support them and collapsed, sending people into the churning gears below.

The accident received scant coverage in the Soviet media, fueling rumors that hundreds had been killed. A few months later, the Supreme Court announced during a hearing on the matter that only eight people had died.