Lift fall not our fault, says inspection firm

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 December, 2008, 12:00am

The company responsible for maintaining the lift that crashed 14 floors to the ground in a Tai Po public housing block in October denies it is to blame for the accident.

A government report released on Friday said the lift's counterweight mechanism was seriously corroded but had not been replaced.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator, which took over maintenance of the lift in August, inspected it on August 18 and pronounced it to be in safe working order.

ThyssenKrupp said yesterday that its own investigations had not indicated 'any maintenance-related issues attributable to our company ... These findings are supported by an independent expert'.

The accident occurred at Shin Nga House at Fu Shin Estate in Tai Po on the evening of October 25. A woman took the lift from the 17th floor down to the ground floor. About a minute later the empty lift ascended to the 14th floor when a rusty pulley broke, setting the counterweight free.

Without the support of the counterweight the lift fell, snapping seven of the eight suspension cables, the government's report said. The safety mechanism slowed but failed to stop the lift.

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department said it was investigating why the problem was overlooked and whether anyone should be held responsible.

ThyssenKrupp said it welcomed 'the announcement of EMSD to commence further investigation and will actively support them by presenting our findings'.

The lift, made and installed by Finland-based Kone Elevator, had been in use on the estate for 22 years. The company had managed the maintenance work until July, when the estate owners' corporation decided to change to ThyssenKrupp, which offered a cheaper service.

The lift plunge has prompted the department to step up checks across the city and publicity on lift safety.