People in China are spooked about using escalators after a young mother was crushed to death last week as she fell through a panel of flooring at the top of one installed a mall in Hubei province.
The accident took place in Jingzhou, a city in central China, when 31-year-old Xiang Liujuan took the escalator along with her two-year-old son. As Xiang stepped onto a metal panel at the top of the escalator it gave way and she got caught in the escalator and was pulled in.
The brave mother, however, managed to save her son's life by throwing him into the arms of a shopping assistant before the panel gave in completely and she slipped through the gap.
This one-off incident has turned into a public paranoia as the Chinese seemed scared to ride escalators. Weibo, a Twitter-like platform in China, was full of photos and videos of people using several safety mechanisms to avoid falling into an escalator.
They were especially scared to step on the top floor panel where the young mother lost her life.
Video of the accident
According to a New York Times report, the video about the "man-eating escalator" went viral on Weibo. The incident was recorded on the CCTV cameras and was leaked on Weibo last Sunday.
The report said the usually censored newspapers in China have come out all guns blazing this time against the government and the company responsible for the maintenance of the escalator.
"We could be killed by any reckless mechanic. If we can't trust the safety of everyday things like escalators and food, what can we trust," the NYT quoted Yang Anqing, 31, a pharmaceutical salesman in Beijing as saying.