SINGAPORE: At least 18 people were injured after the steps on one of Hong Kong’s longest indoor escalators abruptly slid backwards on Saturday (Mar 25) afternoon, according to local reports.
Video footage of the incident showed the 45m-long escalator between the fourth and eighth floors of Langham Place moving upwards, before suddenly going backwards, throwing shoppers off balance.
Rescue workers rushed to the popular mall at Mong Kok’s Argyle Street after the incident, which took place at around 4pm.
According to Apple Daily, 14 women and four men were injured, with one of the men sustaining head injuries. Those hurt were sent to Kwong Wah Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment.
The South China Morning Post quoted Tsim Sha Tsui fire station’s Assistant Divisional Officer Chung Chi-wai saying that none of the injured had suffered broken bones and all of them were conscious.
A spokesperson for Langham Place was quoted by Apple Daily as saying that all escalators in the mall were inspected by Otis Elevator, the maintenance contractor, in accordance with the law.
The escalator that malfunctioned undergoes annual inspections twice a year, with the last such inspection carried out on Jan 27, as well as routine inspections every two weeks, the spokesperson said.
The last routine inspection was on Thursday and the escalator was found to be functioning normally and in compliance with safety standards, according to the spokesperson.
The mall will cooperate fully with authorities and has asked Otis Elevator to investigate the cause of the accident, the spokesperson added.
Langham Place, completed in 2004, is said to attract more than 200,000 visitors each day.