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Hong Kong health care and hospitals

Hong Kong lift accident that injured two people caused by braking system malfunction, government report reveals

Technical investigation report came three months after couple suffered critical injuries when lift smashed into ceiling of 46-storey residential block

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 July, 2018, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 July, 2018, 10:20pm

A freak lift accident that injured two people in Hong Kong was caused by a malfunction in the braking system, it has been revealed.

The government on Saturday released the findings of an investigation into the accident at the Waterside Plaza in Tsuen Wan on April 8, and demanded contractors of all old lifts citywide step up inspections to enhance safety.

The 14-page technical investigation report, released by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, came three months after a couple suffered critical injuries when the lift they were in failed to stop at 15th floor where they lived and ascended all the way up, before smashing into the ceiling of the 46-storey residential block.

Another passenger had been in the lift just before the accident, but got out on a lower floor.

The report said the lift car did not stop at the 15th floor because the brake plunger had been jammed by metal strips and debris from a damaged spacer ring.

“Without any braking force and with [the weight of only two passengers], the lift car was pulled upwards by the counterweight and eventually hit the lift shaft ceiling,” it said.

The lift was installed in 1991 and manufactured by Dongyang Elevator, a South Korean firm later taken over by German multinational Thyssenkrupp, and the last routine check was carried out on March 26.

A spokesman at the current contractor, Kone Elevator (HK) Ltd, said earlier there had never been any complaints of mechanical problems with the lift.

Latest Hong Kong lift accident serves as cautious reminder

The EMSD said it was conducting a criminal investigation, and would proceed with prosecution or disciplinary action if any laws or regulations were found to have been broken.

The department also asked lift contractors of the same brand to conduct special inspections into 384 lifts installed in Hong Kong.

Aside from the lift involved, and 10 others which were exempt due to ongoing modernisation work, the remaining 373 lifts were all confirmed to be in working order, the EMSD report said.