Gran, tot hurt in escalator fall

Local | Sophie Hui 10 Apr 2017

A woman and her infant grandson were hurt in the latest accident on a shopping mall escalator, this time in Kowloon Bay.

The accident brought back memories of a terrifying incident last month in the Langham Place mall in Mong Kok.

Yesterday's incident occurred at the MegaBox mall. A shopper, surnamed Shen, 59, was carrying her seven-month- old grandson while traveling from the first floor to the fifth floor on a 43.5-meter-long escalator when she lost her balance and fell several steps at around the fourth floor.

The infant suffered a head injury while Shen hurt her hands. The two were sent to United Christian Hospital for treatment and were in a stable condition.

Police have classified the incident as "someone injured in an accident" and said initial investigations found no suspicious circumstances.

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department and the contractor closed the MegaBox escalators after the incident for checking and reopened them in the evening.

The MegaBox escalators are the second longest in a mall in Hong Kong, just 1.5 meters shorter than Langham Place's "Xpresscalators" - one of which malfunctioned on March 25, suddenly changing direction and resulting in shoppers crashing to the floor. Eighteen were hurt, including one seriously.

Meanwhile, Secretary for Development Eric Ma Siu-cheung said in his blog that the Langham Place accident was very rare but that one single escalator accident is far too many.

"EMSD will release the detailed investigation report on the accident as soon as possible to prevent this type of accident from happening again. We will look into the investigation results carefully in order to restore public confidence in using escalators," he said.

The department has required all registered lift and escalator contractors to check all escalators which are 15 meters or longer since the Langham Place accident.

Ma said the inspection has been completed and all escalators were found to be operating normally.

However, he said 94 percent of the escalators accidents were caused by users' behaviors and only 0.2 percent by mechanical faults.

He cited an accident in a shopping mall in Aberdeen last Wednesday in which an elderly man lost his balance and fell from the escalator, causing two others to fall as well. The accident was not caused by mechanical faults of the escalator, he said.

Ma said the public can prevent this type of accident and advised users to hold the handrail and stand firmly and not to use smartphones when using the escalators. The elderly and those with heavy belongings should use lifts.

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