Escalator closed as builder hunts for fault

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 February, 2011, 12:00am

The city's longest outdoor mid-air escalator, which began operating at the Hong Kong Design Institute in Tiu Keng Leng in September, will be closed indefinitely until its builder can explain why some of its steps became dislodged this week.

Steps on the 25.75-metre escalator came loose on Thursday at about 1pm, when several students were riding it, the institute said. No one was injured and the escalator, which serves a seven-storey building, was immediately shut down.

The escalator will remain closed until contractor ThyssenKrupp Escalator has filed a report to the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department on the failure, said a spokeswoman for the Vocational Training Council, under which the institute operates.

The institute's campus was designed by French company Coldefy and Associates and cost HK$120 million to build.

A first-year fashion student, 19-year-old Jason Chu, said yesterday he has felt three sudden halts on the escalator since the school opened in September.

'Perhaps it's overburdened,' Chu said, adding that he would still use the escalators after it was fixed because it was convenient and quick.

Another student, Taylor Tsui Tin-fung, 18, said he was surprised the escalator had such a serious fault. 'It operated quite smoothly and I did not feel anything going weird when I was on it,' he said. He would no longer travel on the escalator, as he was afraid of another accident happening in the future.

The department said it inspected the site on Thursday. Its initial findings were that five escalator steps had come loose and a safety device activated to stop the escalator.

The contractor has sent engineers to investigate the cause of the accident and the department has told it to check its other three escalators in service at the institute.