An investigation into a lift accident at a Sheung Shui building has determined that poor maintenance may have caused the braking system to malfunction, leading to the disaster in which a woman lost her life.
According to a report released this week by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD), the main cause of the incident that took place in May at a residential building in Sheung Shui Town Centre was braking system failure due to chronic lack of proper equipment maintenance.
On May 11, a 64-year-old woman was dragged and dropped to the bottom of a lift shaft after she took an ascending lift at Paris Court building.
She died as a result of the crash. The accident prompted the EMSD to launch an investigation.
According to the findings unveiled on Monday, inspectors found that the braking force of the brake system of the lift in question was insufficient.
This led to an incident where the lift, instead of coming to a complete stop, continued to move upwards even when a woman’s foot was caught in the door.
The main cause of the problem was that a component of the lift’s braking system was found to have been not lubricated for a long time and hence could not operate smoothly, the EMSD said in its investigation report.
The brake came under continuous friction during the lift operation, leading to overheating and hence significant reduction in the braking force, the report said.
CCTV footage showed that the lift ascended at least four times in an unexpected way on the day of the accident. But since nobody was injured, it was not reported to the building’s management company.
After the accident, the EMSD immediately instructed all registered lift contractors who maintain lifts of the same brand as the one involved in the May incident to carry out special inspections. The special inspections were completed in two weeks after the incident and no abnormality was found.
The department also requested the registered lift contractor who was maintaining the lift that killed the woman to conduct special inspections on all the lifts under its maintenance. Those inspections, too, were completed without any immediate finding of abnormality.
Claiming that a criminal investigation into the incident is still in progress, the EMSD stressed that the law will be strictly enforced if contraventions are identified.
The police have taken oral statements from a total of 25 people involved, including some residents of Paris Court, employees of the building’s property management company, registered lift workers, registered lift engineers, the lift contractor responsible for maintenance of the lift in question, and lift maker Guangzhou Guangri Elevator Industry Co.
Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting urged authorities to take legal action against the contractor concerned and lay out criminal liabilities.
Action needs to be taken as the EMSD report indicates serious dereliction of duty on the part of the contractor, Lam said.
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