Young woman 'plummets from fourth-floor escalator in front of screaming shoppers'
A young woman suffered serious injuries after plummeting from a fourth-floor escalator in front of screaming shoppers.
The woman, who was in her early 20s according to onlookers, is being treated in a London hospital after falling from the fourth-floor of Debenhams' flagship store in London's Oxford Street on Sunday afternoon.
The woman hurtled past shoppers on the escalators as she fell and it is thought she landed on a large advertising sign in the basement level of the store.
Her injuries are serious but not life-threatening, said police.
A man died after falling from the escalators in the same store last year.
Lorena Aliaga, 28, whose mother works in Debenhams, was shopping in the store at the time.
She said: "I was in the fourth floor chatting next to the cashiers. Suddenly we heard people screaming and running and the supervisor said 'Oh no, not again!'.
Ms Aliaga added: "I just ran into the stairs and saw the girl laid on the basement floor with a few people around.
"I could tell she was alive as I saw her moving her legs by herself. 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.
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: "We were called at 15.24hrs on Sunday, 27 September to Debenhams, Oxford Street, to reports of a woman fallen from an escalator."
"Police, London Air Ambulance and London Ambulance Service attended. The woman was taken to a central London hospital suffering from serious injuries. She is currently still detained in a serious but stable condition.
"The incident is not being treated as suspicious. Inquiries are ongoing."
Other Debenhams shoppers went on Twitter following the incident, with one angry at the store for not closing.
Queen Tea (@QueenTea) said: "Unfortunately we witnessed the incident, the basement remained closed but @Debenhams disrespectfully didn't close the store."
Erin Reki (@toniMarieChilds) said: "I was on the escalator going to the 3rd floor when she came hurtling past me. So scared for her!"
A Debenhams spokeswoman said: "Yesterday, an incident involving a customer took place in our Oxford Street store.
"Paramedics were called to attend scene immediately. The customer has been transferred to hospital for treatment and is accompanied by a store manager.
"Debenhams is working with the relevant authorities to conduct a full investigation into the matter."