A horrible escalator accident in Jingzhou, China, a province in Hubei that has approximately 5 million citizens, has left a young woman dead as she put herself in the way of danger in order to save the life of her son. 31-year-old Xiang Liujuan was at the AZG Mall in Jingzhou enjoying a Sunday shopping trip with her son when they unknowingly stepped onto an escalator that had a panel loose at the top landing strip. The loose panel had been discovered just a few minutes earlier by mall employees—but none of them warned customers of the safety issue. No one was contacted in order to fix the problem, and the employees did not place a safety barrier around the escalator to prohibit anyone from stepping onto it. These simple steps could have prevented a young child from losing his mother so early on in life.
Officials in Jingzhou that are investigating the matter have stated that they believe human error is to blame for this terrible accident taking place. Video surveillance of the tragedy has been released and clearly depicts how Xiang Liujuan had little to no time to react to what was happening. Xiang Liujuan is shown lifting her son up once they reach the top of the escalator in order to allow him to exit the mechanism safely. As she goes to lift him up however, the loose panel collapses underneath her. Xiang then falls into the opening gap, but somehow manages to keep her upper body above the structure—just long enough for her to push her son into the arms of mall employees who witnessed the accident unfolding and ran over to help. The boy is whisked away to safety by an employee while two others work toward pulling Xiang Liujuan from falling completely into the escalator. Their efforts were sadly unsuccessful however, when after just a few seconds Xiang falls into the hole that opened up beneath her feet.
Emergency responders quickly arrived on scene and worked nonstop for over four hours in an effort to retrieve Xiang Liujuan from the machinery. When they were finally able to cut open the escalator and recover Xiang, firefighters pronounced her dead on scene.
This isn’t the first time in China’s history that an escalator accident has taken place. There are multiple instances where, whether through human error or otherwise, people were killed or injured in escalator related incidents throughout the country. There are reports stemming from one occasion in the Guangxi province where a toddler was caught in escalator gap after he tripped and fell down the machine. His left hand and arm became lodged inside the escalator, and firefighters on scene were thankfully able to save this life. The toddler suffered multiple traumatic injuries though, which include a fractured arm. Another instance involving an escalator last year left 13 people injured when the device suddenly changed directions at a subway station in Shanghai. Another accident in Beijing that also involved the escalator suddenly changing directions claimed the life of one teenager and left 30 additional people injured. Also in Beijing just recently, a young boy sustained slight injuries after his foot became stuck in an escalator at a shopping mall.
Escalator accidents seem to be on the verge of becoming somewhat of an epidemic for Chinese residents. Family members of Xiang Liujuan have found this out the hard way. Xiang’s sister-in-law was one of the first people to post photographic evidence of the accident that claimed her family member’s life. She expressed her immense amount of frustration at the mall employees who failed to address this issue before it became fatal. She also stated that she continues to remain angry because these same mall employees are still failing to alert customers of the impending issues these escalators possess. “The shopping mall is still open and the killer escalators are still running.” With the uncertainty of whether or not a tragedy like this could occur again, Xiang’s sister-in-law wants people to know of the dangers they may be facing.
No authorized word has been given on what Chinese officials are doing to combat these issues from progressing into further tragedies.
Escalator accidents while uncommon can often lead to very serious injuries and in this instance even death. Our Boston injury lawyers have handled numerous elevator and escalator accidents. Often times our clients didn’t realize that they were to make a claim against the manufacturer, the facility, the contractor that installed the escalator, the service company responsible for maintenance just to name a few parties that can be responsible for causing such a serous injury.
Quotes and additional information and videos may be found at the following link: http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/27/china/chinese-mother-killed-escalator/index.html