One Australian woman’s day went from bad to worse earlier this week when she was sucked into the machinery of an elevator and then robbed by an unscrupulous bystander, according to 9News Australia.
Harrowing footage that has been watched more than 16,000 times on YouTube depicts the woman, who was reportedly too embarrassed by the incident to reveal her identity to the public, pinned to the steps as bystanders tried to help.
“It was horrific. It just was so awful,” she said of her ordeal, according to the footage. “I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”
The woman was shopping with her 10-year-old nephew at a mall in Surfers Paradise, a town on Queensland’s Gold Coast, when her clothes—including her shirt, pants, and underwear—somehow became hopelessly entangled in the machine’s teeth, causing her to slip and fall.
“The escalator was still moving and I was screaming out for help,” the woman told 9News. She added that she hurt herself when she landed. In a photo, her back appears to be severely scratched. Deep cuts stripe her shoulder blades.
“I couldn’t move. Both of my arms were pinned down. I couldn’t get back up. I knew that if I didn’t, I was going to get trapped,” she said.
When her nephew went in search of the escalator’s emergency stop button, a female bystander took advantage of the situation to enrich herself financially, the woman said. Under the pretense of providing assistance, the bystander snatched the woman’s purse, stole her credit card information, and proceeded to embark on an online shopping spree.
“They have been used to purchase alcohol deliveries and takeaway deliveries,” the woman said.
The woman was eventually freed by paramedics, who cut her out of her clothes, and taken by ambulance to the hospital. When she returned to the mall to retrieve her car seven hours later, she discovered that she’d been slapped with a parking ticket. Mall management has refused to waive the fee, she said, and has stopped taking her calls.
“I’m getting no response so far,” she said.
However, mall management told 9News that they have offered to reimburse the woman.
Elevators and escalators directly or indirectly kill 30 and injure 17,000 people annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2015, per ABC 30, a 30-year-old Chinese woman was killed after she was sucked into an escalator in the city of Jingzhou.