Gov’t orders inspection of hundreds of lifts after elevator malfunction leaves couple seriously injured

The government has ordered an urgent inspection of about 300 elevators after a couple was seriously injured in a terrifying lift malfunction on the weekend.

The order by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department covers elevators of the same model as the one that on Sunday suddenly accelerated upward and crashed into the top of the 46-story Waterfront Plaza building in Tsuen Wan.

According to RTHK, a preliminary investigation suggested there may have been a loss of traction between the cables and the lift’s wheelsThe SCMP reported that engineers were also looking into whether the lift’s braking system malfunctioned.

Speaking to RTHK, Louis Szeto, a former chairman of the Mechanical, Marine, Naval Architecture and Chemical Division of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, said Sunday’s accident was “very rare.”

The couple were taken to hospital with head and neck injuries after being freed from the compartment by firefighters. Their condition has reportedly been upgrade from critical to serious.

According to the SCMP, a similar incident occurred at another building at the estate in 2014, though no one was injured as it happened while the elevator was under inspection.

The newspaper reported that the lift contractor at the time was later prosecuted with evidence suggesting proper procedures were not followed.

The current contractor, KONE Elevator (HK), told the SCMP the elevator that crashed had been in operation for 27 years and was last inspected March 26, at which time no problems were found.

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