The world is still reeling from the shock of watching the China escalator mishap video, but new evidence has surfaced, proving that it could’ve been prevented.
The tragic escalator accident at the Anliang department store in Hubei’s Jingzhou city, which claimed the life of a mother who pushed her toddler to safety, could have been prevented by 2 shopping mall employees who witnessed the deadly problem themselves moments before the fatal plunge. The mall employees had experienced a close shave just minutes earlier, new surveillance footage has shown. They can be seen losing their balance in the same place the metal floor boards collapsed at the top of the escalator.
China’s state broadcaster CCTV released a 2-minute video that captures how a female mall employee had travelled down the escalator from the 7th to the 6th floor.
Officials said the 2 employees actually had 5 minutes to alert authorities and shut off the escalator after they discovered the loose panels.
Instead of turning the escalator off, they prodded the panels with their foot and gave the doomed mother a verbal warning, pointing at the danger. But the last-minute notice was not enough to save Xiang Liujuan. The mother is seen in her last moments alive lifting her 2-year-old son up and pushing him out of harm’s way as she plunged through a gaping hole. Rescue crews reportedly took 4 hours to remove the woman’s body from the escalator, which showed “no signs of life”. The incident made international headlines.
Her heartbroken husband Zhang Wei told local news channel, Wuhan Evening News, “It was too late. My wife fell even before the assistant spoke out her last word.”
The tragedy has cast an unfavourable spotlight on China’s safety standards, with criticism also levelled at a maintenance crew which forgot to screw down the panel after repairs. Netizens are also blaming the 2 female employees for not turning off the escalator’s mechanism or stationing themselves at the bottom to warn off shoppers.
Hubei has issued a province-wide ban on the use of elevators and escalators by the Shenlong Elevator Company, which made the escalator in the mall.