BCA suspends operation of escalator at White Sands mall after 4-year-old's foot is trapped

The girl, whose right foot was caught in the escalator, was taken to hospital. The escalator was cordoned off when ST visited on Friday night.
The girl, whose right foot was caught in the escalator, was taken to hospital. The escalator was cordoned off when ST visited on Friday night.ST PHOTO: NG JUN SEN

SINGAPORE - The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has suspended the operation of an escalator in a Pasir Ris mall after a four-year-old girl's foot got trapped in it.

The incident took place on Friday (Aug 11) night at White Sands Shopping Centre.

A video posted on Facebook shows Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers rescuing the girl, as she cries repeatedly for her father.

A crowd seen gathered around the escalator, located near cosmetics store Sasa, claps when the girl is finally lifted off the escalator.

Mr Dennis Cheong, general manager of White Sands and Century Square under AsiaMalls Management, told The Straits Times on Saturday that mall staff were alerted at 9.35pm to the incident on the down-riding escalator between levels one and two of the mall.

He said mall staff activated SCDF and were at the scene at 9.40pm to help the girl.

SCDF told ST that it dispatched a fire engine, two fire bikes, a Red Rhino and an ambulance to the scene.

The girl was taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

The girl has since been discharged, Mr Cheong said.

"The management has been in contact with her family and are rendering any assistance possible to them," he said. "AsiaMalls Management takes a very serious view of the matter as the safety of our shoppers is of paramount importance to us. Investigations are underway and we are working closely with the (BCA) and the escalator operator."

He added that the escalator will be closed until further notice.

Earlier in January, an escalator at the same mall buckled after a couple with a baby in a stroller just stepped off it.

 

Mr Cheong said that incident occurred on a different escalator.

"Ensuring the safety of our shoppers is important to us, and we have implemented measures throughout the mall to educate our shoppers on the use of the escalators," he said.

A spokesman for the BCA said a passer-by activated the emergency stop button when he saw what happened.

"BCA engineers inspected the incident escalator at 11pm on the night of the incident and found that the gap in the escalator where the shoe was lodged, was compliant with the prevailing code requirements," said the spokesman.

However, BCA said it will be suspending the operation of the escalator in the interest of public safety. It will also be instructing the owner to engage an Authorised Examiner (AE) to conduct further investigation into the incident.

"The AE will also be required to recommend repair works on the escalator where one of the steps was misaligned as a result of the rescue operation," said BCA.