Twelve injured as Shanghai subway escalator suddenly switches to reverse

An accident involving a subway escalator on the Shanghai metro sees 12 victims taken to hospital

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 April, 2014, 1:49pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 April, 2014, 1:49pm

A defect on an escalator in Shanghai’s subway system during the morning rush hour injured 12 people on Wednesday, with an investigation continuing.

The Shanghai Morning Post reported the defect occurred at around 8.20am on an escalator travelling upwards at the Jingansi subway station.

“The escalator suddenly ran reversely and passengers rolled down [the escalator] like being thrown out,” the newspaper quoted a witness as saying.

Shanghai’s subway operator said 12 people were slightly injured in the incident, including one individual whose condition required further observation. All the victims were taken to hospital.

The operator had suspended the use of escalators in the station and a thorough investigation on the accident was underway.

Escalator accidents have taken place before in China.

One of the worst cases happened in Beijing in 2011, when an escalator in a subway station suddenly went into reverse, causing one death and 30 injuries.

A government investigative report into that incident said later a bolt had broken, causing the drive chain in the escalator’s motor to fall off, leading to the sudden reversal. An auxiliary brake also failed to function properly.

The escalator’s manufacturer Otis was fined with 300,000 yuan (HK$377,003) and Beijing subway authorities suspended the operation of 177 Otis escalators used in its stations.

The nationwide General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Department subsequently ordered a nationwide halt in the use of the model of Otis escalator at the centre of the Beijing incident. It said the accident was a result of design and machinery flaws in that model.