Pilot Files Suit After Foot Became Trapped in a Moving Walkway

(NationalUSNews.com) — In November 2022, Delta Air Lines pilot Kenneth Gow had his left foot sucked into the end of a moving walkway at Denver International Airport. The resulting injuries to his shoulder, ankle, and foot caused him to miss work and required physical therapy to address them. He filed a lawsuit in December 2023, naming the manufacturer of the walkway, TK Elevator Corporation, in the suit.

The lawsuit accuses TK Elevator Corporation of negligence and failing to maintain the walkway in accordance with Colorado Codes and Regulations. In fact, the walkway was in such poor repair that there was a plate missing at the end of the moving walkway, which is what caused Gow’s injuries. According to his suit, Gow’s foot was sucked into the gap, damaging his shoe, sock, and, of course, his foot and ankle. Surveillance cameras at the airport captured the moment when Gow collapsed as well as the reactions from people around him, including one man who tried to help him.

Gow is citing mental anguish as well as physical suffering in his lawsuit. He has to keep using an orthopedic boot, and still required physical therapy for the tenosynovitis, which is strain of his left Achilles tendon, and contusion of his left foot. The amount Gow is suing for will reflect the medical procedures he needs such as doctors’ fees, hospital care, imaging, prescriptions, and physical therapy. It will also reflect his emotional distress and physical suffering. It is believed that TK Elevator Corporation was doing repairs in the airport that very day, although their failure to block access to the damaged walkway may prove relevant in the case.

Moving walkways and their brethren the escalator are generally considered very safe. However, like all modern conveniences they sometimes malfunction. A 57-year-old airline passenger in Thailand had her leg amputated up to the kneecap in July during a mishap with a moving walkway. However, the National Elevator Industry, Inc. estimates that about 105 billion passengers ride escalators annually and such tragic mishaps are vanishingly rare. It’s unclear if these statistics include the moving walkways or if they are specific to escalators only. While negligence can increase the odds of injury with a lot of everyday technologies, situational awareness is always helpful when navigating busy public spaces.

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