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2015 - China - Heroic Mum Saves Son But Ends up Swallowed by Escalator - 27/7/15

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(BEIJING, AFP, 27 Jul 2015) - A woman was killed after she plunged through flooring over an escalator in a Chinese department store, reports said Monday, thrusting her toddler to safety as she fell to her death. Xiang Liujuan, 30, was holding her son in front of her as they went up the stairway on Saturday, the Wuhan Evening News said. Security camera footage of the incident posted online showed a panel in the floor giving way as Xiang stepped off the escalator. As she fell half-way through she pushed her son forward, and a nearby shop assistant dragged him to safety. But the escalator continued rolling, and several seconds later Xiang is seen disappearing downwards into the mechanism, despite one of the staff briefly grabbing her hand. It took firefighters more than four hours to cut open the machine and recover the woman, who showed "no signs of life", the newspaper report said. The footage shows employees standing at the top of the escalator as the mother and child approach. Maintenance had just been carried out on the escalator at the Anliang department store in Jingzhou in the central province of Hubei, and workers forgot to screw the access cover back into place, the newspaper cited an unnamed source as saying. The accident was one of the top topics on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Monday with more than 6.6 million views. Most comments expressed fury at the shop management. "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. China is prone to safety accidents as regulations and standards are often flouted and enforcement is lax, sometimes due to corruption. In 2012, a nine-year-old boy was killed after he got stuck in an escalator at a Beijing department store as horrified shoppers looked on. In July 2011, a 13-year-old boy was killed and more than 20 others injured when an escalator in a Beijing underground station suddenly reversed direction during the rush hour. __________________________________________________ (BBC News, 27 Jul 2015) - A woman was killed after falling into an escalator in a shopping centre in central China, local media report. Surveillance footage from Sunday's incident shows a metal panel at the top of the escalator giving way, causing the woman and her toddler to stumble. The woman, identified by local media as Xiang Liujuan, 30, was able to push her child to safety as she fell in. The incident in Jingzhou, in Hubei province, has sparked widespread anger at the department store. The woman fell into the escalator at 10:09 local time (02:09 GMT) on Sunday, state broadcaster CCTV and newspaper Wuhan Evening News reported. Employees standing at the top of the escalators tried to pull the woman to safety, but were unable to stop her from being pulled in. It took until 14:00 for rescuers to retrieve her body, CCTV said. There was no immediate comment from the shopping centre, but local authorities are investigating the incident, media reports said. Unconfirmed reports said that maintenance works had been carried out on the escalator recently, and workmen had replaced the metal panel but forgotten to secure it with screws, Wuhan Evening News said. The incident has sparked fury on Chinese social media, with many demanding answers from the shopping centre's management. As of Monday morning, microblog posts on the subject had attracted more than 20 million views. One user called for the department store to temporarily suspend operations, while another demanded: "Where were the screws to secure the panel? If the screws had been removed why didn't they shut down the escalator? What brand was that escalator?" "This is heartbreaking!" User Maqi Yaduo wrote. "W...