Rescue workers rushed to Langham Place (a bustling shopping mall in Mong Kok, Hong Kong) after the one of longest indoor escalators in the city stopped and reversed at high speed on Saturday afternoon.
Video footage obtained by The South China Morning Post showed the 45m long escalator quickly changed directions at high speed, causing people to fall and pile up at the base of the escalator.
In another video, some people could be heard screaming as others tumbled down the escalator. Others managed to grab the handrail and steady themselves.
Eyewitnesses said the 14 women and four men lost their balance and rolled down the escalator. A police spokeswoman said one man suffered a head injury and was sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
A Langham Place spokesperson told Apple Daily that the escalator in question received a regular inspection every two weeks. The most recent inspection was conducted on Thursday, and showed that all mechanical parts operated normally.
“I was going up the escalator, and it was like two times faster than normal,” a woman who injured her leg said at the scene.
“I heard people screaming...the escalator was going down but the speed accelerated,” the woman, who identified herself as Tina, said.
“People started to panic... and some fell down.”
She recalled that the same escalator had stopped for a few minutes earlier in the day, around noon.
Langham Place, located at the heart of the busy Mong Kok shopping district, opened in 2004. The mall contains two long escalators from the fourth to the eight floor, and from the eight to the 12th.