A China escalator accident has left a mother dead.
The accident took place on Sunday at a shopping mall in China’s Hubei province. Surveillance footage, which was posted online, shows Xiang Liujuan, 30, riding the up-escalator with her 2-year-old son. As she reached the top, a metal bar started to give way, causing the woman and the toddler to stumble, according to the Washington Post.
As the metal flooring caved in, Xiang was able to shove her son into the arms of a shopping assistant. Another shopping assistant tried to pull Xiang to safety, but sadly she was pulled in and swallowed by the escalator.
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Witnesses at the shopping mall immediately called for help. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they spent nearly four hours cutting open the machine to retrieve Xiang’s body, which showed “no signs of life,” according to the Agence France-Presse, reported via Yahoo News.
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Maintenance workers had just serviced the escalator at the Anliang department store in Jingzhou in the central province of Hubei, but forgot to screw the metal floor into place, an unconfirmed report stated.
Woman falls to her death in an escalator accident in China. Manages to push her son to safety https://t.co/29K6vxpi7l
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The footage has outraged China’s social media users, with many questioning why the shopping mall was so negligent.
“Why didn’t the staffers stop customers at the entrance to the machine or just turn it off?” one user wrote. “The department store is definitely responsible.”
“This is heartbreaking!” User Maqi Yaduo wrote. “Why didn’t store employees cordon off or shut down the escalator? The department store definitely bears responsibility for this.”
Other users praised the woman for her final actions to save her son.
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“I was appalled when I saw her sink and at the same time felt the greatness of maternal love — the mother wasted no time pushing the child out when it happened,” wrote one user.
“When I saw her fall in I felt awful – but at the same time I felt how strong a mother’s love can be – during such a sudden event, the mother’s first reaction was still to push the child away from the gap,” user I am a Promising Youth said.
This is not the first time that someone has been killed on an escalator in China. According to AFP, China frequently has safety accidents due to their lax standards. In 2012, a 9-year-old boy was sucked into an escalator at a Beijing department store as witnesses looked on, horrified. In 2011, a 13-year-old boy was killed and more than 20 others were injured after an escalator changed direction during rush hour.
The shopping mall has not released a statement regarding the accident.
[Photo via Shutterstock]