Newly-released footage from a Chinese shopping centre appears to confirm that two employees knew of an escalator fault that moments later caused the death of a woman.
Xiang Liujuan fell through the top platform of an escalator, throwing her two-year-old son to safety before falling into the mechanism of the escalator and dying. The incident took place a shopping centre in Hubei’s Jingzhou city.
Following the accident, Chen Guanxin, the head of the Jingzhou Work Safety Administration in the Chinese province, said that staff had discovered the escalator’s footplate had become loose five minutes before Xiang died, state news agency Xinhua reports.
Footage now appears to confirm that statement, with video showing two female employees reaching the top of the escalator, with the metal flooring slightly giving way, forcing the pair to rush to safety. The floor of the escalator does not fall through but the pair of employees point at the metal sheet, suggesting they realise there is a fault with the escalator.
Staff reportedly tried to tell Xiang the footplate was loose when she was halfway up the escalator, according to the South China Morning Post.
“When they were halfway from the sixth to the seventh floor, two assistants at the top of the escalator started to tell them that ‘the footplate of the escalator is broken’,” the uncle of Xiang’s surviving husband said.
An investigation into the incident is believed to be underway, though local newspaper Wuhan Evening News reported that the footplate had been left loose after maintenance work had been carried out on the escalator.
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