At least 18 shoppers at a Hong Kong mall were injured on Saturday when a escalator suddenly reversed at an increased speed.
Witnesses captured the incident on video, showing the crowded escalator at the Langham Place shopping center when it unexpectedly shifted from moving upwards to downwards at a high speed. Surprised riders lost their balance, tumbling downwards and causing a dangerous pileup at the bottom of the moving stairway.
“I was going up the escalator, and it was two times faster than normal,” a woman who injured her leg during the incident told the South China Morning Post.
Ambulances took those injured to nearby hospitals, including a man who suffered a head injury and was in serious condition, according to CNN.
A spokeswoman and a director of the mall’s property management company said the escalator has had no problems in the past and passed a recent inspection on March 23.
The contractor for maintaining the escalator, the Otis Elevator Company, has been asked to investigate the cause of the accident.
“We are urging the Otis Elevator Company to thoroughly probe into the accident, in concerted effort with the police, the fire department and other government sectors,” said Mr. Chao, general manager of Langham Place.