A total of 18 people were injured yesterday after a 45-metre-long escalator in Mong Kok suddenly malfunctioned.
The incident took place at around 4pm, when an ascending escalator connecting the 4th and 8th floors of Langham Place shopping centre suddenly stopped, reversed and sped up, causing riders to lose their balance, fall and pile up at the bottom.
Eyewitnesses told Oriental Daily that they suddenly heard “piercing screams”, and saw the elevator reverse for roughly 30 seconds.
Police told reporters that 14 women and 4 men were injured in the accident. One man, surnamed Ma, was sent to hospital with head injuries and remains in serious condition.
One of the injured women told SCMP that the escalator was going “two times faster than normal”. In footage circulated online, some people were seen running up the escalator while others scrambled onto the descending escalator next to it.
After preliminary investigations, a spokesperson for the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department said at 11pm that the escalator’s drive chain was suspected to have malfunctioned, and the brake mechanism failed to take effect.
A spokesperson for Langham Place said the escalator, manufactured by Otis Elevator Company (Hong Kong), had passed its annual inspection three months before the accident. Apple Daily reports that Langham Place has expressed its condolences to the injured, and said they would try to “offer assistance”.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the escalator in question passed a safety inspection three days before the malfunction. In fact, it was three months. Coconuts HK apologizes for any confusion caused.