At least 18 people, 14 women and four men, were injured when the stairs suddenly reversed and sped up, toppling people like dominoes.
One man suffered serious head injuries and was rushed to a local hospital after the accident in Hong Kong.
CCTV captures the shocking incident at Mong Kok shopping centre, in Langham Place, which saw dozens of people squashed in a heap on the floor.
Footage shows shoppers serenely heading upstairs when the escalator appears to shudder to a halt, before lurching back down at speed.
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST / GETTY
CCTV captures the shocking incident at Mong Kok shopping centre
A pile-up ensues as people are sent flying with more and more people falling on top of them.
Lau Kit-ying, who was eating nearby, told the South China Morning Post (SCMP): “It was so sudden that people couldn’t respond in time … more than 10 people piled up near the base of the escalator.
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
One man suffered serious head injuries and was rushed to a local hospital
“I’m not sure if he was conscious, but a foreign man and a few mall staff helped stop his bleeding with a first aid kit.
“But most of the [injured] were young people and they stood up quickly… I’m glad that there wasn’t any elderly person involved.
“Some people ran upwards. Some even jumped over to the escalator on the other side.”
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The incident took place on a 45-metre long escalator
People started to panic and some fell down
With the escalator moving incredibly fast, people frantically try and grab the handrail as it shoots to the floor.
And those on the opposite escalator, which was originally travelling downstairs, scrambled to get off it for fear it would suffer a similar malfunction.
A woman named as Tina told the SCMP: “I heard people screaming. The escalator was going down but the speed accelerated.
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
At least 18 people, 14 women and four men, were injured
“People started to panic and some fell down.”
The incident took place on a 45-metre long escalator, one of the longest in the city, which links the fourth floor with the eighth.
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The escalator was last inspected on March 23.
Lift and Escalator Safety Advisory Committee member Charles Wong Kai-hon said it was possible the accident was caused by one of the escalator’s two brakes and its non-reversing mechanism.
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