Operation of mall escalator suspended after girl's foot trapped

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 was trapped in it.

The incident took place last Friday night at the White Sands Shopping Centre which reopened early last year after an 18-month $40 million makeover.

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

A crowd gathered around the escalator, outside cosmetics store Sasa, applauds when she is rescued.

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

He said mall staff called for help and firemen arrived at 9.40pm.

SCDF said it dispatched a fire engine, two fire bikes, a Red Rhino and an ambulance.

A four-year-old girl's foot was trapped on the down-riding escalator between levels one and two at White Sands Shopping Centre. ST PHOTO: NG JUN SENG

The girl was taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital and has since been discharged, Mr Cheong said.

"The management has been in contact with her family and is 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.

In January, an escalator at the same mall buckled just after a couple with a baby in a stroller 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 BCA spokesman said a passer-by activated the escalator's 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 investigations 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 13, 2017, with the headline 'Operation of mall escalator suspended after girl's foot trapped'. Print Edition | Subscribe