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July 12, 2011

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OTIS escalator in rush-hour drama

AN ESCALATOR made by the manufacturer at the center of current safety concerns juddered to a halt at a Metro station yesterday during rush hour.

The OTIS escalator in Caoyang Road Station on Line 3 stopped suddenly at around 8:50am.

This comes after an OTIS escalator malfunctioned in Beijing last week, leading to the death of a 13-year-old boy. Quality authorities are carrying out escalator inspections around the city.

In yesterday's incident, no one was seriously hurt as there were few people using the escalator at the time, the Metro operator said.

Technicians later said there was no problem with the escalator and that the emergency button had been pressed.

A surveillance camera covering the lower part of the escalator showed no one fell when the escalator suddenly stopped, said the Shanghai Shentong Metro Co Ltd.

However, witnesses said they saw people tumbling, and that one man hurt his leg.

"He was on his knees and I saw blood on his leg," said a microblogger named Zhao Jiale. "When people fell over, I lost my balance and my head hit the handrail," she added.

The escalator has been shut down and OTIS Elevator (China) Co, is to investigate.

After an inspection, on-site maintenance workers said the sudden stop was triggered by the emergency device.

"Perhaps a piece of luggage pressed the emergency button by chance," said one worker.

Meanwhile, Shenzhen Metro operator denied claims that an escalator on Line 4 went into reverse, causing two riders to fall off. They may have slipped, said the operator.

The two riders were injured at a Metro station of Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, on Sunday night.

Hu Ruihua, a spokesperson with MTR Shenzhen Corp, operator of Line 4, said surveillance footage showed the escalator was moving normally and suddenly stopped. They believe this was caused by someone pressing the emergency stop button after seeing two people falling off.


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