Hong Kong escalator suddenly reverses; Otis Elevator workers arrested

Screengrab of a video showing the 45m-long escalator at Hong Kong's Langham Place stopping and reversing at high speed.  
 

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One eyewitness told the South China Morning Post: "I heard people screaming... the escalator was going down but the speed accelerated".

Surprised riders lost their balance, tumbling downwards and causing a unsafe pileup at the bottom of the moving stairway.

The incident, which was caught on camera, happened on Saturday afternoon as visitors to the high-rise center were going about their shopping, according to the South China Morning Post.

A spokesperson for Otis expressed "shock" at the technicians' arrests, and said the company would provide them with necessary assistance.

Shocking video footage shows the 45-metre-long moving staircase change direction without warning before speeding up - causing terrified shoppers to tumble down.




At least 18 people, 14 women and four men, were injured when the stairs suddenly reversed and sped up, toppling people like dominoes.

Also a surprise? You guessed it: The fact that only one dude made a decision to run up the stairs instead of waiting to be thrown into the pile of injured humans. "People started to panic".

"All other escalators in the mall have passed additional safety inspections and are operating normally now", the statement said. Several are seen piled up at the foot of the escalator, with one man lying unconscious on the floor.

The 21m machine is among city's 57 escalators taller than 15m, which architects said were more likely to malfunction, due to the heavier load.

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