An 88-year-old woman was strangled to death in New York in a bizarre accident. Her clothes got entangled on escalator treads.

Irene Bernatzky from Long Island, was about to board a train to visit her daughter in Manhattan when she apparently fell while on the escalator and her clothes became entangled.

‘A preliminary investigation and autopsy concluded that the woman fell on the escalator, her clothing became entangled and she was asphyxiated,’ said Sam Zambuto, spokesman Long Island Rail Road.

Several riders who use the Lindenhurst station daily said that the two-story escalator has a history of trouble and was often out of service. Many riders specifically pointed to a faulty handrails.

But Zambuto disputed those rider accounts.

He reporters that the escalator ‘is inspected monthly and is maintained in good operating condition.’

The escalator, which was installed in 1994, received its lasts inspection on February 9, according to service logs. Most escalators, said Zambuto, have a service life of 20 to 25 years.

Several neighbors described Bernatzky as a ‘friendly’ and ‘loving’ woman.

They said she lived with her son and daughter-in-law, and that she was often seen walking on the block carrying groceries.

‘She was 88. But she had a lot of life left in her,’ neighbor Dawn Shipsey told the New York Times. ‘She always traveled by herself to the city, and it’s hard to fathom something like this happening.’

The escalator remained out of service as police officials continue to investigate Ms Bernatzky’s death.

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