Six people were injured when an escalator full of rush hour commuters suddenly changed directions at the Exchange Place PATH station in Jersey City, N.J., on Monday, sending riders tumbling and causing panic on the moving stairwell.
The Port Authority said it was investigating what went wrong, and said damage from Sandy -- which flooded the station -- may have played a role.
Passengers were traveling up from the station's platforms on the escalator when it suddenly began heading down just before 9 a.m.
Michael Nochimson told NBC 4 New York that he jumped off the escalator as it began to slip down.
"We were moving forward, and then it hesitated and it started slipping backwards and it picked up momentum. and at that point, I could see the panic and I could hear the cries of other people behind me, so I knew I had to do something," he said.
Five people were taken to the hospital with injuries that are not life-threatening, Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico said.
Some of the confusion was captured on video.
Nick Lukish says he was headed to work and was midway up the escalator when the moving staircase started going down.
The 33-year-old says he saw a stampede of people at the base while others jumped on an adjacent escalator. Lukish says he sustained cuts and bruises.
Exchange Place remains open to commuters but all escalator service has been suspended through Tuesday morning. The Port Authority said it was also examining all of its escalators throughout the system.