PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Pawtucket man died after what officials are calling a tragic accident at the Providence Place mall late Monday night.
Police said the 45-year-old fell off an escalator from the upper level to the food court area around 10:45 p.m. and suffered severe head trauma. He was treated on scene by first responders and taken to Rhode Island Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
According to the police report obtained by Eyewitness News, a witness reported seeing the man “clowning around and riding the rail of the escalator” at the mall’s theater level. The witness told police that as the man reached the downward slope of the handrail, he fell backwards off the rail and hit his head on a table in the food court below.
“It’s quite a big drop,” Providence Police Maj. David Lapatin said Tuesday. “Anybody who has been to the Providence Place mall in the food court, you see the two escalators going up to the movie theater and Dave & Buster’s, you know how high that is.”
The man’s identity has not been released, pending the family notification.
Officials said the incident appears to be completely accidental and there is no indication that the man intentionally jumped or was pushed. Police are reviewing surveillance footage of the incident as they continue to investigate.
“It’s a death, so any death, you know we take to the extreme in our investigation and we have to make sure if it’s accidental, it’s accidental,” Lapatin added.
Lindsay Kahn, a spokesperson for the mall, released a statement to Eyewitness News calling the fall a “heartbreaking accident.”
“Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time,” Kahn wrote. “We thank local law enforcement for their leadership and direct all inquiries to the Providence Police Department as this is their investigation.”
This was not the first fall of its kind at Providence Place. Back in 2004, a Massachusetts woman died after falling from an escalator following a birthday celebration and in 2009, a man fell from an escalator but survived.