The government has ordered contractors to inspect 300 lifts from the same brand after an elevator accident in Tsuen Wan left two seriously injured on Sunday.

A couple riding a lift in block two of Tsuen Wan’s Waterside Plaza were seriously injured after the lift suddenly ascended and reached the top of the elevator shaft, according to Ming Pao. After being rescued by firefighters, they were taken to the Princess Margaret Hospital in a critical condition with head and neck injuries.

Waterside Plaza. Photo: Wikicommons.

Alfred Sit, director of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, said that the department immediately sent personnel to inspect the lift following the accident.

It found, after a preliminary inspection, that the cables were intact.

“In our preliminary findings, we suspect that a problem occurred with the braking system or with the traction between the cable and the sheave [the wheel inside the pulley],” he said.

Sit said department personnel inspected other lifts of the same model from the same manufacturer at Waterside Plaza, and found that they were functioning normally. Their findings did not indicate that the accident was related to the elevator model, he said.

“But for the sake of giving the public peace of mind, over the following two weeks, we will carry out a comprehensive inspection on all other lifts of the same brand – the number is roughly 300.”

Sit added that, apart from ordering contractors to inspect the lifts, the department would also send its own personnel to conduct spot inspections.

Alfred Sit.

Sit said: “I want to emphasise here that Hong Kong’s lifts, due to their design and management, are very safe. The incident this time, where it contacted or hit the top of the shaft, is a very rare accident.”

Under Secretary for Development Liu Chun-san said the condition of the two injured people had improved by Monday, though they remained in serious condition.

Operation of the lift concerned has been suspended until the EMSD has completed its investigation, the contractor has carried out repairs, and an engineer has checked it.

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.