When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Escalators

This is actually better than our last few escalator mishaps: nobody’s dead yet. If you recall, we had a Shanghai citizen get sliced and diced mortally after being sucked into the mechanism of one, an Escalator of Doom at the British store Debenhams that killed one and wounded one (the article has a helpful roundup of gruesome escalator deaths), and a woman in New Jersey toppling off of one after a night of imbibery.

Now, we’re back to China again, specifically Hong Kong, where the hong escalator suddenly started going kong, reversing itself and dumping people all over the place. One shopper is seriously hurt, and a couple of mechanics are sampling the amenities of Hong Kong’s fabled jails after allegedly having tried to cover up their part in the screwup.

Two mechanics have been arrested for possibly tampering with evidence after a mall escalator abruptly reversed direction, launching confused shoppers to the ground below.

The 150-foot-long escalator at Hong Kong’s Langham Place had been carrying passengers upwards when the sudden change in direction occurred, CNN reports.

Among the 18 injuries, one man received a head injury and is in serious condition.

Video taken by security cameras as well as fellow shoppers captured the instant horror that occurred at the bottom of the shifting steel staircase Saturday afternoon as those caught on the escalator screamed and braced themselves.

Some more helpful members of the crowd below rushed over to try and catch people as they rocketed off the escalator.

Authorities say the mechanics have been charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly tampering with the machine after the accident.

via 18 injured as 150-foot-long Hong Kong mall escalator reverses – NY Daily News.

What should you do if this happens to you? Be ready to get dumped in a pile of people. Keep your feet and knees together, knees slightly bent, and ready to execute a dynamite PLF. Stay clear of the mechanism at the end, and when you’re back on your feet, take immediate action to help your fellows, most of whom will not have reacted in time to avoid a nasty spill.

If the escalator keeps spewing people, keep pulling them away so that others don’t land on them or trip over them — and stay out of the line of fire yourself.

5 thoughts on “When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Escalators

  1. John M.

    When I visited France a number of years back, we were transiting between the subway and the train station. The two were connected through a long underground hallway, and somebody had decided that a high-speed moving sidewalk was the answer to the problem. It was labeled as experimental. I don’t recall how fast the thing moved, but it was quicker than you just wanted to jump onto it from a standing start. So they ran the moving handrail back behind the moving sidewalk for a ways, and provided a few feet of roller bearings to get you up to speed. So you were supposed to grab onto the handrail with one hand, move to the roller bearings, then transition smoothly onto the moving sidewalk. The wife and I got on successfully, but then came the dismount, which was the reverse of the mount: keep hanging on to the handrail, transition to roller bearings, then let go of the handrail, decelerate, and transition onto solid ground.

    We both managed to stick the landing, but an old duffer went down in a pile of elbows and knees. I helped him to his feet and asked if he was OK. He was pretty much toothless, and I couldn’t understand a single word he said. (Anyone who has practiced a foreign language on-site will tell you that children and old people are the worst to understand.) He seemed not entirely OK, but he was able to stand up and communicate and it didn’t seem like there was anything I could do to help him, so we moved along.

    Anyway, I didn’t consider it a successful experiment and hope someone went back to the drawing board.

    -John M.


    Uh…is it just me, or is that graphic advising people not to shit on the escalator? And the squatter seems to be wearing one of those muslim beanie things. What a world we live in when such advice is necessary.

    1. Mike_C

      Hah! The beanie indeed may not be random (but note that they were careful to make the putative shitter blond and pale). Clearly commendable attention to detail went into this thing: while the graphic also seems to dis-recommend circus-type acrobatics, namely holding a bearded hipster doofus over your head as he stands on your hands (which I agree is NOT something to do on escalators, but unlikely to be a widely prevalent social scourge in real life), what I LURVE is that BHD is carrying a fixie bicycle :-)

      >What a world we live in when such advice is necessary.
      Yeah! It’s a bad idea to squat on an escalator with the dangly bits so close to moving, grindy hardware. Escalators are only for pissing standing up. Every damn fool knows that if you want to take a dump, you gotta find yourself an ELEVATOR.

      1. John M.

        Maybe they are trying to communicate that riding bikes that don’t have brakes is a poor idea.

        -John M.

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