World

Escalator swallows woman

A woman pushed her three-year-old son to safety just seconds before plunging through the floor to her death in a department store in China's Hubei province.

Ms Xiang Liujuan, 30, had been holding her son up in front of her as she rode the escalator on Sunday (July 26).

As she stepped off the escalator, a panel of the flooring gave way.

Closed-circuit television camera footage of the incident showed that Ms Xiang​ momentarily lost her grip on her son, but managed to push him forward before falling into the hole.

A nearby greeter pulled the boy to safety then grabbed Ms Xiang's hand in a bid to save her.

But she lost her grip on Ms Xiang, who disappeared downwards into the mechanism which was still in operation.

It took firefighters more than four hours to cut open the machine and retrieve the woman's body.

Maintenance had just been carried out on the escalator at the Anliang department store in Jingzhou city and workers had forgotten to screw the access cover back into place, reported Wuhan Evening News.

'The greatness of maternal love'

Sina Weibo users blamed the mall for the tragic incident.

"Why didn’t the staffers stop customers at the entrance to the machine or just turn it off?" wrote one. "The department store is definitely responsible."

Others were moved by the woman’s final actions.

"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," said one.

The child was unhurt.

Investigations are ongoing.

 

 

Sources: AFP, Ifeng News, News163, Sina, Tencent

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