Chinese shoppers desperately try to avoid escalator death

Video of shoppers trying desperately to maintain safety while riding escalators has surfaced from China after a woman fell to her death through an escalator footplate.

The vision shows shoppers using extreme caution to avoid stepping on the footplate as they ascend to the top of the escalator, shuffling their feet around the edges and even jumping over the top of it in case the plate opens into a deadly shaft.


In one clip, a father with two children tests the security of the escalator plate with a few hesitant taps of his foot before scooping his kids into his arms to protect them. He lets them pass only when he's sure they're not in danger.

Agile male shoppers clutch the moving hand-rails to run and spread-eagle their legs over the surface.

A father with two children tests the security of the escalator plate with a few hesitant taps of his foot before scooping his kids into his arms to protect them. Photo: Facebook

A father with two children only lets them pass only when he's sure they're not in danger. Photo: Facebook

One woman holding a takeaway drink recognises the metal plate immediately as she completes her escalator ride and skips swiftly to avoid it, while another dubiously pokes the surface with her umbrella before scuttling across it.

The anxiety comes after a woman plunged to her death through flooring over an escalator in a Chinese department store, throwing her toddler to safety as she fell to her death.

Agile male shoppers spread-eagle their legs over the surface at the end of the escalator to avoid the same fate as a woman who fell through a shaft to her death. Photo: Facebook

Xiang Liujuan, 30, was holding her son in front of her as they went up the moving stairway last Saturday, the Wuhan Evening News said.

Security camera video of the incident posted online showed a panel in the floor giving way as Xiang stepped off the escalator.

As she fell half-way through she pushed her son forward, and a nearby shop assistant dragged him to safety.

But the escalator continued rolling, and several seconds later Xiang is seen disappearing downwards into the mechanism, despite one of the staff briefly grabbing her hand.

It took firefighters more than four hours to cut open the machine and recover the woman, who showed "no signs of life", the newspaper report said.

The video shows employees standing at the top of the escalator as the mother and child approach.

A gaping hole is seen at the top of the escalator. Photo: Screenshot

Staff struggle to save the pair, but only succeed in rescuing the child. Photo: Screenshot

Maintenance had just been carried out on the escalator at the Anliang department store in Jingzhou in the central province of Hubei, and workers forgot to screw the access cover back into place, the newspaper cited an unnamed source as saying.

The accident was one of the top topics on China's Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo on Monday with more than 6.6 million views.

Most comments expressed fury at the shop management.

"Why didn't the staffers stop customers at the entrance to the machine or just turn it off?" wrote one. "The department store is definitely responsible."

Others were moved by the woman's final actions.

"I was appalled when I saw her sink and at the same time felt the greatness of maternal love-- the mother wasted no time pushing the child out when it happened," said one.

China is prone to safety accidents as regulations and standards are often flouted and enforcement is lax, sometimes due to corruption.

In 2012, a nine-year-old boy was killed after he got stuck in an escalator at a Beijing department store as horrified shoppers looked on.

In July 2011, a 13-year-old boy was killed and more than 20 others injured when an escalator in a Beijing underground station suddenly reversed direction during the rush hour.

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