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Accidents and personal safety in Hong Kong

Woman dies after falling into Hong Kong lift shaft at her estate

‘Terrifying and rare’ incident under investigation as officials carry out inspections overnight of other lifts at private housing estate

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 May, 2018, 8:35pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2018, 12:29pm

A woman in her 60s fell into a lift shaft in a high-rise block of flats in Hong Kong and died on Friday.

Emergency services were called at 3.23pm after a security guard told police the woman had been found unconscious inside the lift shaft at Paris Court in Sheung Shui Town Centre on Chi Cheong Road, Sheung Shui.

A police spokeswoman said the woman was certified dead by paramedics at the scene.

Officials vowed to carry out overnight inspections throughout the private housing estate.

The woman was thought to live with her family in a seventh-floor flat in the building.

Initial investigation showed she left home soon after midday.

“The woman was entering the lift while speaking on her phone,” a government source said. “Once she put a leg into the lift, its doors closed and her leg was trapped.”

How safe are Hong Kong’s lifts?

“She was dangling upside down when it moved upward. A few seconds later, she fell into the shaft.”

He called it a “terrifying and rare” incident and said officers from the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department were investigating the cause of the incident.

The source said the lift was broken but no one had noticed she had fallen into the shaft and landed at the bottom.

She was found when a repairman arrived to check on the lift.

Eugene Engineering Co, the registered contractor maintaining the lift, was unavailable for comment.

To be careful and put residents’ minds at ease, we have arranged overnight inspections
Alfred Sit Wing-hang, Electrical and Mechanical Services Department

Electrical and Mechanical Services Department director Alfred Sit Wing-hang said a preliminary investigation had indicated “the accident was caused by an irregular movement of the lift compartment”.

“As to why the compartment moved irregularly, our staff are conducting an in-depth investigation.”

Speaking outside the building at 8.45pm on Friday, Sit said inspections overnight of nine other lifts at the private housing estate were in the works.

“To be careful and put residents’ minds at ease, we have arranged overnight inspections to ensure the seven other lifts are operating safely,” he said.

The director noted the lift involved in the incident had been manufactured by Guangri, a mainland Chinese company, and was installed in 1992.

It had last undergone an annual inspection in February, he added.

Some 90 lifts of the same model exist in the city, and Sit said the government would inspect them all within the next two weeks.

According to the department’s latest contractor performance rating report, Eugene Engineering was among eight registered contractors given a ranking of three stars. Some 17 other contractors had five stars and another two had four stars.

On Saturday morning, seven of eight passenger lifts and two freight elevators at Paris Court reopened after the overnight inspection.

Additional reporting by Sum Lok-kei