Escalator accidents have become quite common in China in recent years, but the most recent horrific incident occurred in Hong Kong over the weekend.
Videos of the unfortunate accident have been widely shared on social media. In the clip that has since gone viral, an escalator at Langham Place mall, Hong Kong’s longest escalator, suddenly reversed direction while people were on it and continued to speed up in reverse. Shoppers riding the moving staircase were caught off-guard as they were suddenly hurled downward as a pile of humans began to form at the bottom.
Local authorities are now investigating the mishap that has resulted in the injury of 18 mall customers last Saturday, Shanghaiist reports.
According to Hong Kong’s Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, a damaged drive chain may have caused the problem. The malfunction, however, did not explain how the escalator’s braking system failed to stop it from reversing.
As a result of the accident, Langham Place has committed to doing inspections on all of its escalators. The mall’s management has also released a statement to the press that the escalator had recently passed inspection just days before with no errors reported.
Meanwhile, the city government of Hong Kong has ordered safety tests to be conducted on 57 escalators that are over 15 meters in height around the city.
Local police have reportedly apprehended two workers from contractor Otis Elevator Company for “handling mechanical parts subject to an inquiry.”