Tue, Oct 08, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Elevator accident kills mother and son in Kaohsiung

TRAGEDY:Police are weighing charges against the man responsible for maintaining the elevator after a mother died trying to save her three-year-old

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Greater Kaohsiung prosecutors said they are investigating an elevator accident that claimed the lives of a mother and son.

The accident took place on Friday night. A 32-year-old Chinese woman surnamed Hsieh (謝) was with her three-year-old son when they called an elevator in their apartment building to go from the seventh floor to the first floor. When the elevator door opened, the boy stepped into the elevator, but the elevator suddenly went up without the door closing and the boy was stuck between the seventh and eighth floor.

Hsieh, who saw her son’s head and legs sticking out of the door, tried to pull him out, but fell down the elevator shaft to the second basement and was killed, investigators said.

The boy also died, investigators said.

Prosecutors on Sunday examined the scene and reviewed surveillance footage, with the assistance of a mechanical expert.

Investigators quoted a man, surnamed Lee (李), who is responsible for the maintenance of the building’s elevators as saying that he inspected the system once a month, the last time being on Sept. 26. Lee told investigators he had no idea how the accident happened. Prosecutors said they have not yet decided whether to charge him with negligence of duty causing death.

According to a resident of the building, in February, another elevator suddenly dropped two floors, injuring a resident’s legs and leaving the victim stuck in the elevator for 40 minutes.

Saying that malfunction of the brake system or electrical system might have caused the accident, Greater Kaohsiung mechanical security expert Tsai Li-li (蔡立禮) called for more attention to elevator safety.

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