Safety concerns rise in China as child dies in escalator accident

World Today

Photo by leniners on Flickr.

A three-year-old girl died after falling from an escalator at a shopping mall in Kunming, southwest China’s Yunnan Province. Surveillance video shows the girl playing around the escalator on the fourth floor as she drifted on the hand rail and lost control, falling to the ground floor.

Screenshot of Kunming surveillance video.

Screenshot of Kunming surveillance video.

According to the surveillance footage, the child was unaccompanied during the 13 minutes when she was playing by the escalator. This episode is the latest among escalator accidents in China that have raised serious questions on child safety and also put a spotlight on aging problem of facilities.

A report by Xinhua News Agency in July highlighted the problem. According to the report citing the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, five out of every 100 elevators and escalators had problems.

With more and more high-rises popping up across the country, elevators and escalators have found a prominent space in modern China. By the end of 2015, there were over 4 million elevators, a six-fold increase in the last decade, according to data from AQSIQ.

The growing trend has also brought a host of problems, particularly accidents on elevators and escalators that have been caught by surveillance cameras. In 2015, there were 58 cases of elevator accidents reported in China while 46 people died in such mishaps.

While authorities say the product quality is improving and mortality rates are on a decline — elevator accident mortality has decreased from 0.49 to 0.12 out of every ten thousand people in the last 10 years —some are calling for more protective measures and also asking parents to be more vigilant.

Story by CCTV News