Alarm after lift scare

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 February, 2011, 12:00am

Calls for tighter controls over lift contractors have been prompted by an incident at the weekend when two passengers were trapped on a housing estate in Ma On Shan.

An independent engineer believed poor maintenance was to blame, while a unionist said staff cuts at lift contractor Sigma Elevator (Hong Kong) might have compromised the quality of maintenance.

The incident took place at about 4pm when the lift in Kam Shun House, Kam Ying Court, stuck between the 13th and 14th floors after hitting what investigators believe was a damaged lift door. The collision triggered the emergency brakes. Firemen rescued the couple in a matter of minutes.

An Electrical and Mechanical Services Department spokesman said the incident was caused by metal struts on the lift doors working loose and colliding with the outer lift doors on the 13th floor. He said Sigma had completed examinations of the other 29 lifts in the estate and found no similar problems.

Dr Lo Kok-keung, of Polytechnic University's mechanical engineering department, said the damage should have been detected if there had been proper maintenance.

'The door might have been damaged when people used it to carry bulky items. If there was proper maintenance, workers should have been able to detect it and replace the parts,' he said on TVB news.

Tse King-wa, of the Hong Kong General Union of Lift and Escalator Employees, said staff shortages meant workers had less time to carry out inspections. He urged the government to step up controls on lift companies.

Sigma Elevator could not be reached for comment yesterday.