A video shows the horrifying moment a crowded escalator at a Hong Kong shopping center abruptly reversed direction and sent people tumbling to the floor.
Eighteen people were injured during the Saturday incident when the four-story-high indoor escalator at Mong Kok’s Langham Place mall switched course from up to down at an accelerated speed.
Shoppers can be seen piling up on each other after cascading to the base of the escalator amid the sounds of screams.
One man was seriously injured with a head wound, according to the South China Morning Post.
“I was going up the escalator, and it was two times faster than normal,” a woman, who injured her leg in the incident, told the newspaper.
A witness, Lau Kit-ying, told the news outlet, “It was so sudden that people couldn’t respond in time … more than 10 people piled up near the base of the escalator.”
According to the South China Morning Post, two workers from an escalator contractor were arrested following the incident.
The mechanics, ages 22 and 52, of the Otis Elevator Co., were arrested on suspicion of tampering with the machine’s parts.
A spokesman for Otis told the newspaper Sunday night that the arrests came as “a surprise” to the company.
“Our legal team is working with law enforcement to clarify the situation and we intend to defend our mechanics,” the spokesman said.