Date
21 October 2017
A security officer tries to extricate the victim (inset). Part of the handrail cover hangs after being dislodged in the accident. Photos: Xinhua
A security officer tries to extricate the victim (inset). Part of the handrail cover hangs after being dislodged in the accident. Photos: Xinhua

Another China escalator horror: Boy, 4, killed by ‘pig mouth’

A four-year-old boy was killed when he was trapped in an escalator in western China’s Chongqing city, adding to a string of related tragedies in recent months.

The boy was playing near the top of the steps when he tripped and became wedged between the handrail and the metal base under it.

He was dragged by the escalator handle head first into the “pig mouth” gap, according to Apple Daily.

Rescuers later extricated him and brought him to hospital where he died from his injuries.

Video footage from an amateur camera shows a woman desperately trying to free him.

The next clip shows the boy, still trapped under the handrail, being rescued by paramedics.

The incident happened on Thursday morning in the Hongqi Heguo rail station in Yubei district.

The boy and a three-year-old girl had been left alone near the top of the escalator steps when their minder went to the toilet.

Lo Kok-keung, an engineer in Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said the escalator might have a design flaw.

It should have been equipped with technology to detect unusual handrail movement and an automatic stop switch, he said.

He said the pig mouth in this case was too big compared with those in Hong Kong escalators.

Pig mouth is a Hong Kong colloquialism for the gap between the bottom of the handrail and the floor plate at both ends of an escalator.     

Lo said the gap should be covered with baffle plates to prevent accidents.

It was the fourth serious escalator accident since July when a 30-year-old mother was swallowed alive by a collapsed floor plate in a shopping mall in Hubei province.

She barely had time to pass an infant she was holding to horrified onlookers before she disappeared into the hole.

In August, a 35-year-old employee of a shopping mall in Shanghai lost his left leg after a section of the escalator he was cleaning collapsed underneath him.

A week later, a toddler tripped and had his arm caught in an escalator in Guangxi region. The mangled limb was found 30 minutes later. 

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TL/AC/RA

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