Safety fears as woman trapped on escalator at Tesco store

CONCERNS Shopper had accident at Tesco Extra in Havant. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (100252-002)
CONCERNS Shopper had accident at Tesco Extra in Havant. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (100252-002)
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DEMANDS have been made for a safety review after a shopper was nearly crushed on a moving staircase at a supermarket.

Robin Walton, chairman of heritage group Discover Hayling, is demanding answers after his wife Eileen had a terrifying experience on the travelator at Tesco Extra in Havant.

The retired couple had finished their shopping when Mrs Walton boarded the travelator with her trolley.

Mr Walton was distracted and was 20 paces behind when he looked towards the bottom of the travelator and saw his wife was in trouble.

Mr Walton, of Bacon Lane, Hayling Island, said: ‘When she got the bottom to push it, the trolley was stuck.

‘It reared up on top of her and she slid under it.

‘The travelator was still going and her clothes were caught in the travelator.

‘There were half a dozen people at least piling on top of her.

‘She was struggling and was in total shock.’

Mr Walton said the ordeal went on for around five minutes as members of the public tried to backtrack up the travelator.

He said no member of staff appeared to be aware of the incident to raise the alarm and stop the travelator.

He said: ‘I was about 20ft behind.

‘I had to somehow force my way through to her and try to help her up.

‘I managed with the help of someone else to pull the trolley off her.

‘By that time some young man has managed to find the panic button and stop the travelator. She was unbelievably lucky.’

Mrs Walton was very shaken up by the incident, but escaped with only bruises. It took her four days to recover.

It is not the first time that people have been stuck on the travelator, which enables people to get from the ground floor car park to the first floor supermarket.

Shortly after the store opened in late 2009, a woman was taken to hospital by ambulance.

At the time, Tesco officials said they were looking at ways to ease congestion on the travelator.

Mr Walton added: ‘My point is I think the system is very doubtful and wants looking at. It’s a tragedy in the making.

‘I’m going to email the chief executive. If I don’t get anything from him, I will email the Health & Safety Executive.’

A spokesman for Tesco said: ‘We were sorry to hear about Mrs Walton’s accident.

‘Mrs Walton didn’t immediately report the incident, but as soon as our colleagues were made aware, they sent her flowers and their best wishes. We hope Mrs Walton has a very speedy recovery.’

There was no further comment.