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Family Of Boy Who Died On Escalator Issues Statement

AUBURN (CBS) -- The family of the little boy who died when he fell from an escalator at a Sears store in the Auburn Mall says they have been overwhelmed by expressions of sympathy.

Michael Flaherty, the attorney for the DiBona family, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying the family would like to "express their heartfelt gratitude for the overwhelming expressions of sympathy regarding the tragic loss of their son."

4-year-old Mark DiBona slipped off the escalator and fell two stories. Two inspectors were later suspended for failing to notice a gap near the top of the escalator that is larger than allowed by state code. The boy reportedly slipped through that gap and fell.

Ron Hanson, the senior vice president of Simon Property Group, New England, the group that owns the Auburn Mall, issued a statement Tuesday saying, "We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident that took place at Auburn Mall, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time. We are, of course, fully cooperating with The Department of Public Safety."

There are 975 escalators in the state of Massachusetts, and they are inspected each year. The two inspectors involved have looked at about 25 in the past year, and they will all be re-inspected.

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