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Oculus fall may reveal design flaw

Friends and family - including the twin sister - of the 29-year-old Kearny woman who plunged three stories to her death at the Oculus transportation hub inside of the World Trade Center are mourning her tragic and sudden passing. The woman did not survive the 34-foot fall to the marble floor below. She was pronounced dead at Bellevue Hospital.

The tragedy unfolded as the woman and her twin sister were making their way back home after a night in the city. At the time of her death, her blood alcohol level was at .167. Police sources said that she died while attempting to retrieve her twin's hat from the escalator's edge.

Could safety barriers have prevented this fatality?

In the days following her death, some officials with the Office of Emergency Management of the Port Authority have been on-site at the transportation center. Apparently, they are conducting a review of escalator safety. Unnamed sources spoke with NJ Advance Media, stating that officials discussed "barriers" and examined charts while standing near the escalator where the New Jersey woman lost her life.

Critics of the design, which was created by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, expressed their opinion that the open design could encourage suicidal plummets to the ground three stories down.

Safety webbing or different designs for the guardrails might have prevented the woman's death, as well as future tragedies.

Security guard didn't respond to victim's plea for help

One New York paper reported that one of the Oculus' security guards refused to help the woman retrieve her twin sister's fallen hat, saying that he was unable to move from his post. His response led to her attempt to reach the hat herself, causing her to lose her balance and fall to her death.

Who bears liability in such cases?

It is too early to predict whether surviving family members will file a wrongful death lawsuit in this case. However, in similar cases where the blame for a fatal accident is shared by multiple parties, a personal injury attorney can assess the circumstances and pursue financial compensation for surviving family members.

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