Heroic woman saved her child before being swallowed by an escalator

A woman was killed on Sunday after falling through a panel at the top of an escalator in a central China department store.

The 30-year-old was reportedly carrying her 2-year-old son up the escalator when the floor at the top of the structure collapsed. The woman flung her son to safety as she was dragged downward by the malfunctioning floor panel.

A shop assistant reportedly attempted to pull the woman out of harm's way as another assistant hurried the boy out of danger.

According to the Wuhan Evening News, the escalator at the Ailing shopping mall in Jungzhou had undergone maintenance work before the event. Workers allegedly forgot to secure the panel back in place after the maintenance was complete.

It reportedly took firefighters over four hours to recover the body from the grips of the escalator. Not surprisingly, the tragedy has stirred outrage on Chinese social media.

People are questioning why store employees didn't shut down the escalator when they witnessed the woman being dragged downward.

This is not the first escalator death to occur in China. In 2012, a 9-year-old boy was killed by an escalator in a Beijing department store. In 2011, a 13-year-old boy died and 29 others were injured when a Beijing subway escalator reversed direction during rush hour.

Public health and safety standards in China reportedly go unenforced quite often which likely contributes to the frequency of these tragedies.

Watch this video to see how dangerous escalators can be:
Official on Escalator Death: 'Never Seen Anything Like It'
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