Revenge of the Escalators



By now the news of China’s escalator (and elevator) victims have made their rounds on the internet. Ever since CCTV videos of several incidents last week have surfaced, China’s – and probably the world’s – paranoia of these modern-day conveniences are not unfounded.

Shopping Mall Killers
According to a Xinhua report, there have been several serious incidents involving escalators and elevators across China in July alone. Perhaps the most well-known incident was related to the death of 30-year-old Xiang Liujuan, who was literally swallowed up by an escalator at a shopping mall in Jingzhou in China’s Hubei province. Latest news indicate that the shopping mall staff knew about the loose footplate but decided to let the escalator run anyway, prompting furor from Chinese netizens.

Barely a week later, another victim – 35-year-old man named Zhang – had to have his left foot amputated when it was caught in the escalator’s floorplate at a shopping mall in Shanghai.

Two other escalator incidents in China involved children: a toddler’s left arm was mangled when he fell to the bottom of an escalator in Wuzhou, while in Beijing, a boy’s foot got stuck and had to be rescued by firefighters.

China’s Faulty Escalators Injure Three People in One WeekIn one week, a mother has died and two others have been seriously injured on faulty escalators in China.

Posted by AJ+ on Monday, August 3, 2015

Faulty escalators don’t seem to be found in China but also in Hong Kong. Recently an escalator in a mall in Mongkok collapsed suddenly with a loud bang, forcing patrons to run up the escalator to avoid getting injured by the sharp metal edges.

Hong Kong shoppers also had a scare when an escalator in Times Square had broken pieces of metal at the bottom, apparently caused by a normal activation of its safety mechanism.

Lifts Are Not Exempt
Just because the news focused on escalators doesn’t mean that lifts are not hazardous. In Hangzhou in China’s Zhejiang province, a 21-year-old woman was killed when she was using the lift on the 16th floor; her head was caught in the elevator when it suddenly went up.

As if that wasn’t enough, in Wuxi City another woman was killed when she got stuck in a gap between a cargo lift and the lift platform, horribly mangling her body.

In Hong Kong, passengers in a lift had a good scare too when the lift they were in suddenly stopped and dropped 4 floors down.

Scary thoughts
These are by no means new: according to Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of China, there have been 49 recorded escalator and left incidents in China in 2014 that resulted in 37 fatalities. What’s known now is that Shen Long escalators are banned from use throughout Hubei province.

Locally, netizens have taken to checking brands of escalators (and where they’re made) at various locations throughout the island. What’s the lesson we’ve learned here? It’s probably safer to take the stairs.