Independent News and Media

Mother saves son before being swallowed by escalator

A MOTHER has been killed after she fell through a panel at the top of an escalator in a Chinese department store.

The accident happened on Saturday in the Anliang store in the city of Jingzhou in Hubei province.

The woman, named as 30-year-old Xiang Liujuan, had been going up the escalator with her son in front of her.

Surveillance footage showed that as they stepped off, a metal panel at the top of the escalator gave way.

Liujuan fell into the mechanism half-way but pushed her two-year-old son forward so an employee could pull him to safety. Despite a member of staff managing to grab her hand, she was unable save Liujuan.

It took firefighters nearly four hours to recover her body, the BBC reported.

Wuhan Evening News reported that an unnamed source said workmen had forgotten to secure the metal panel with screws after carrying out recent maintenance work.

Local authorities are believed to be investigating.

Footage of the accident has garnered more than six million views on Chinese social media site Sina Weibo, according to AFP.

It is the latest death involving escalators to have taken place in China in recent years. In 2012, a young boy died after getting stuck in an escalator in a Beijing store. The previous year, a boy was killed and several people injured after an escalator in an underground station in Beijing suddenly reversed direction.

Although deaths on escalators are extremely rare, China's breakneck economic development and sometimes cavalier attitude toward safety, quality control and maintenance have led to frequent industrial accidents such as fires, building and bridge collapses, and ship sinkings or collisions.

Additional reporting by AP


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