New surveillance footage has shed light on what transpired moments before Sunday’s accident in which a woman was swallowed up by an escalator at a mall in Jingzhou city, Hubei province.
Two mall employees riding on the escalator had just discovered the malfunction when they almost fell through the floor panel themselves about five minutes before the accident. They left to report the matter to management, but failed to first turn the escalator off.
When they later returned to the escalator, Xiang Liujuan and her son were just on their way up. The two employees can be heard informing Xiang that there was a problem with the escalator, at which point she instinctively picked up the toddler with her arms. When she fell through the floor, she quickly pushed her son out of harm’s way as one mall employee tried, but failed, to pull her out.
Watch the surveillance footage below [Warning: viewers may find content disturbing].
In light of the tragedy, authorities in Hubei issued a province-wide ban on the use of all escalators and elevators made by the Shenlong Elevator Company, which manufactured the moving staircase involved in the accident.
By Maggie Wong