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Human error blamed for escalator accident that killed a woman in Jingzhou

HUMAN error is to blame for the horrifying escalator accident in a shopping mall in Jingzhou city, middle China's Hubei Province, which killed a 30-year-old woman on Sunday, local agencies said late on Monday evening.

Five minutes before the accident, mall staff discovered that a shaft cover on the end of the ascending escalator was loose but they did not stop the escalator, said Chen Guanxin, director of the local work safety authority at the news conference.

The woman, unaware of the situation, fell under the escalator and landed in a gap inside and was instantly killed, the official said.

It was not until the woman was already halfway on the escalator with her 2-year-old son when some of the mall staff members yelled and warned her. It was a bit late for the warning as she fell to her death.

Fire fighters spent four hours cutting open the facility at the Anliang department store to pull her out.

The victim, Xiang Liujuan, was a full-time housewife.

The seconds-long security camera footage showed the victim was holding her son in front of her as they went up the stairway. They were the only two people on the ascending escalator when the unfortunate incident happened around 10am on Sunday.

Several female mall attendants were waiting on the end of the escalator as they approached the upper floor.

The mother then lifted up her son and pushed him forward as a nearby shop assistant dragged him to safety. Nearly at the same moment, the panel she stepped on collapsed. The woman's lower body was immediately stuck by the running escalator. The escalator continued rolling, and several seconds later she was seen disappearing downwards into the mechanism, despite one of the staff briefly grabbing her hand.

The woman's sister-in-law, who identified herself as kkcake, said on Weibo, that the victim was shopping with her son and husband before the tragedy.

"The warning from the store attendants was already too late. It's impossible for a mom travelling with a kid to walk back on an ascending escalator," the sister-in-law said on Weibo.

The accident was one of the top topics on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Monday with more than 6.6 million views.


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