01:42 - Source: CNN
Rash of escalator accidents leave citizens fearful

Story highlights

Man has lower leg amputated after getting trapped in a mall escalator

It is the third escalator-related accident in a week in China that resulted in serious injury or death

Chinese netizens have posted videos of themselves going to extreme lengths to avoid stepping onto escalators

CNN —  

A Shanghai man’s lower leg has been amputated after becoming trapped in a mall escalator, the third serious escalator-related accident in China in a week.

The 35-year-old man, surnamed Zhang, was a cleaner at the Cloud Nine shopping mall in Shanghai, state media said.

Video surveillance footage from Saturday evening shows him placing a cloth near the top of the escalator and stepping on it to clean the escalator equipment before one of the escalator’s metal floor panels give way, trapping his left lower leg.

Firefighters eventually rescued the man and he was sent to hospital where his leg was amputated from the calf down.

“The doctor said in order to prevent (the) situation from getting worse, they amputated his left calf,” a family member of the victim told Xinhua.

An investigation into the accident is still underway but the latest state media reports say the victim violated operation regulations by not shutting the escalator down first before cleaning it.

“Since the incident, the shopping mall has stopped its escalator cleaning service, and held an emergency meeting to heighten the safety procedures for cleaning,” Lin Yun, the deputy general manager of Cloud Nine mall told CNN.

“Before the escalator cleaning services can be resumed, the shopping mall has requested a list of the cleaning supervisors and workers that have undergone training as well as to provide the training report to the shopping mall.”

Lin said the escalator had just been checked by a third-party quality assurance vendor in June, and the certification was valid until next year.

It is the third escalator incident in China this past week that has resulted in a serious injury or fatality.

Mall tragedy

Last Wednesday, a similar incident resulted in the death of a young mother. Thirty-year-old Xiang Liujuan fell through an escalator metal panel to her death in Jingzhou, a city located in central China, although she was able to push her two-year-old son to safety.

Two days before that in the southwestern province of Guangxi, a toddler’s left hand and arm were caught in a gap of an escalator after he tripped and fell at the bottom, firefighters told local media. He suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured arm, and was hospitalized.

Despite the recent spate of incidents – which has sparked numerous videos on social media of people tiptoeing on escalators or riding the handrails – government statistics show that there were just 49 escalator or elevator-related accidents last year.

As a result, 37 people died, a relatively low figure for a country with a population of 1.3 billion. Authorities say most of the deaths were caused by improper use and only eight cases were caused by equipment problems.