Escalator ‘Helicopter’ Prank Fails

By ABC News

Mar 29, 2013 7:59am

ABC News’ Abbie Boudreau and Ali Ehrlich report:

The video is only five seconds long but has already logged more than 200,000 views on YouTube.

The clip posted to YouTube Tuesday shows a tall man in jeans and a coat trying to replicate the popular escalator “helicopter” stunt in which someone lies flat on his or her back across the top a set of escalators going in opposite directions.

The movement of the handrails – one moving up, the other moving down – is supposed to help the prankster rotate his or her body in a circle, similar to the movement of a helicopter’s rotors.

“The guy on YouTube looked like he was having a good time so I wanted to try that,” prankster Joe Szklarski said of why he tried to recreate the stunt.

But his attempt, shot at a Colorado Springs mall, was woefully unsuccessful.  He failed to complete a rotation and ended up falling in the space between the two escalators and breaking the glass on the side of the machines, leaving him with a sore back but otherwise OK.

“I definitely underestimated my weight,” he said.

The video of his failed attempt was captured by a friend who then posted it to YouTube.

In addition to the online attention, Szklarski, a college student in Joplin, Mo., studying to be a youth pastor, also caught the attention of the mall, which banned him and is making him pay the $3,700 in needed repairs.

“It was funny so it kind of makes it worth it but still I ended up on the side that I would rather have not done it in the first place,” he said.

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