Beijing: A 13-year-old boy was killed and 30 others were injured when a crowded subway escalator suddenly reversed direction, a media report said Wednesday.
The accident occurred around 9.30 a.m. Tuesday on an ascending escalator at Beijing Zoo Station Exit A on Line 4, the Beijing MTR Corporation said at a news conference.
The metro line was opened in 2009.
Pictures posted online by witnesses showed discarded shoes, bags, and flattened bottles scattered at the bottom of the escalator, China Daily reported.
Fu Jinyuan, one of the injured now receiving treatment at Peking University People`s Hospital, recalled the moment when the escalator malfunctioned.
"First there was a crashing sound, then the rising escalator started going down. Then wave after wave of people began falling. I thought I was finished."
Song Cuiling, 39, had to get several stitches on her head and leg at the hospital`s ICU. "I heard people screaming," she said. "Then I found myself bent under people, with my head touching my ankle."
Chen Bulian, in her late 50s, sustained neck and hand injuries. "People were screaming `help` when the escalator began to go in reverse. It was going down very, very fast," she said. "I could barely realize what was happening before I was crushed."
Survivors said those in the middle section of the escalator suffered worst injuries. The injured said a medical team did not arrive until 20 minutes after the accident.
The exit, which had two escalators ascending and descending, was cordoned off after the accident.
The subway operator said it immediately stopped operation of all 10 Otis (the company) escalators on Line 4.
A Beijing MTR Corporation engineer, who attended the news conference, refused to say if subway escalators were subjected to higher quality standards than other escalators.
From Sep 28, 2009, when Line 4 opened, to May 2011, the metro line carried 400 million passengers, the operator said.
This was not the first escalator accident in China.
Sixty-one children were injured March 25 when an escalator at Wuxi Zoo in Jiangsu province suddenly stopped.
Twenty-four people were injured in December last year when an escalator reversed direction in a Shenzhen subway station in Guangdong province.