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Sunday, 26 March 2017

An escalator suddenly reversed direction at high speed in a crowded Mong Kok mall leaving 18 injured,



Saturday, 25 March 2017 | MYT 11:22 PM

18 injured in Hong Kong escalator incident


18 people were injured when a malfunctioning escalator at the Langham Place in Mong Kok suddenly reversed direction. - SCMP/Handout
18 people were injured when a malfunctioning escalator at the Langham Place in Mong Kok suddenly reversed direction. - SCMP/Handout
HONG KONG: An escalator suddenly reversed direction at high speed in a crowded Mong Kok mall here on Saturday afternoon, sending shoppers tumbling and leaving 18 injured, one of them in a serious condition.

Video footage recorded by witnesses showed that the 45m-long escalator – which links the fourth and eighth floors of Langham Place on Argyle Street – changed direction without warning and sped up, causing terrified shoppers to lose their balance, tumble down and pile up at the base.
In another video, some people could be heard screaming as others fell over or clung to the handrail to avoid tumbling down one of the longest escalators in Hong Kong.
Witnesses confirmed the 14 women and four men who were injured lost their balance and rolled down the escalator.
A police spokeswoman said one man suffered a head injury and was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He remained in a serious condition as of Saturday night while the rest were stable.
Langham Place is a HK$11 billion urban renewal project which was completed in 2004.
"I was going up the escalator, and it was two times faster than normal," a woman, who injured her leg in the accident, said.
Another woman said she saw the escalator increase speed during the incident, which lasted less than one minute.
"I heard people screaming ... the escalator was going down but the speed accelerated," the woman, who identified herself as Tina, said.
"People started to panic ... and some fell down."
She recalled that the same escalator had stopped for a few minutes earlier in the day, at about noon.
Shopper Lau Kit-ying, who was at a nearby burger shop and witnessed the chaos, also said the escalator was moving about two or three times faster than normal.
"It was so sudden that people couldn't respond in time ... more than 10 people piled up near the base of the escalator," Lau said.
She said she saw a man on the floor, bleeding.
"I'm not sure if he was conscious, but a foreign man and a few mall staff helped stop his bleeding with a first aid kit," she said.
"But most of the injured were young people and they stood up quickly ... I'm glad that there wasn't any elderly person involved."
Judy Chu, a manager of a nearby dessert cafe, recalled the panic following the accident. "Some people ran upwards. Some even jumped over to the escalator on the other side," she said.
Chung Chi-wai, assistant divisional officer of Tsim Sha Tsui fire station, said none of the injured suffered broken bones and all were conscious when emergency teams arrived.
Lift and Escalator Safety Advisory Committee member Charles Wong Kai-hon said it was possible that the accident was caused by a malfunction of one of the escalator's two brakes and its non-reversing mechanism.
A Langham Place spokeswoman said the escalator had passed an inspection on March 23. Annual inspections were carried out twice a year, while routine checks were done once every two weeks.
She said its contractor, Otis Elevator Company (Hong Kong), had been asked to investigate the cause of the accident.
The spokeswoman added that the mall was highly concerned about the accident and would offer assistance to the injured, while fully cooperating with any government investigation.
David Chiu Chi-kin, general manager of Langham Place, said the escalator was stopped earlier in the day for about 15 minutes at 2pm for crowd control reasons.
He said that the escalator accident later was not related to the service pause.
Redeveloped from what was known as the Mong Kok Six Streets, Langham Place stands as a flagship redevelopment project and a milestone in Hong Kong's history of urban renewal.
It boosts 1.6million sq m of floor area comprising an intelligent office tower, a 665-room five-star hotel and a 15-level shopping mall, all held together by a glass atrium with a "digital sky roof."
The project is a joint venture between the Urban Renewal Authority and local developer Great Eagle Holdings Limited.
The mall attracts more than 200,000 visitors each day. It has nearly 200 merchants. – South China Morning Post

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/regional/2017/03/25/18-injured-in-hong-kong-escalator-incident/#wFoehm1Z1vcFmvKT.99

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