A Canadian family returning home from vacation were left devastated after their two-year-old baby boy's leg was crushed by an airport escalator on Friday, 16 February.
Julian Lee was preparing to fly back home with his 22-week pregnant mother Andrea Diaczok and father Jeff Lee after visiting a family in Vancouver when his leg got caught in the escalator at the international airport in the Canadian city.
According to Diaczok, they were only a few steps away from the bottom of the escalator when Julian's boot got stuck between the side railing and the stairs, the Calgary Herald website reported.
"His whole boot basically disappeared," Diaczok said as she described the harrowing moment.
"The teeth bit onto his toe midway... I started screaming for help."
Hearing the mother scream, someone pushed the emergency stop button on the escalator. Diaczok said that as she and her husband both work in the medical field, they were prepared for the worst.
"It twisted his leg around and broke his leg, and then the entire foot of the boot disappeared in the side of the escalator," she said.
"I didn't even know if his foot was there... I didn't know if there was only a stump there at that point," she added.
Diaczok and her husband, along with the help of some bystanders, airport employees and a pair of scissors, were eventually able to free the young boy. However, the accident left Julian with a broken leg as well as some cuts and bruises.
According to Diaczok, who took a photo of her son's completely shredded rubber boot, said that she had been teaching Julian about safety precautions that need to be taken on escalators. However, she added that she was not prepared for a situation in which he would get stuck halfway down.
"He hops at the top, he hops at the bottom," she said. "We make a game of it, 'don't touch this part, and always step over'. But I've never heard of [getting stuck] in the sides."
According to Jody Armstrong, a spokeswoman with the Vancouver Airport Authority, safety is the most important priority at the airport and an investigation is underway after the incident.
The family have returned back to Calgary and said that their son is recovering. They are slightly relieved as well since this incident could have been much worse.