Authorities investigating the fatal fall of a New York hedge fund executive from an Atlantic City shopping center escalator say that the incident was an "accident." NJ resident James Vellanti had been on an escalator at the Pier Shops at Caesars on Saturday when he somehow fell. The Press of Atlantic City reports, "The escalator from which Vellanti fell travels from the third to the second floor. Frank Gilbert Jr., of Galloway Township, fell from the same one in August 2008, after witnesses said he sat on the handrail."
The Philadelphia Inquirer adds, "Police responded to a 9-1-1 call there at 12:01 a.m. Sunday and found Vellanti, a married father of three, unconscious on the first floor. Police Sgt. Monica McMenamin said that Vellanti had fallen 30 to 40 feet." How Vellanti fell is still not known. Vellanti had been in Atlantic City for a golf outing with friends and was set to head home on Sunday; his friend said, "He was a great father, a fantastic husband and an all-around great guy."
The escalator's manufacturer, Schindler, "said the railing is built at a height that conforms with the voluntary federal standard established by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers," and a spokesperson said, "We don't even know what happened yet. We're just extremely saddened that this accident took place."
Last year, a father of two fell to his death from a Shea Stadium escalator.