Mum's horror as girl left hanging from escalator

By Ian Dipple Friday 15 February 2013 Updated: 18/02 09:50

A MOTHER has called for safety improvements after her three-year-old daughter was left hanging several feet in the air off the outside of an escalator.

Toni Hodgetts watched in horror as she realised little Ava was hanging onto the outside of the escalator outside the toilets in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre on Saturday.

It appears Ava had grabbed the moving rail as she passed and momentum had taken her onto a small ledge on the outside of the escalator and carried her almost to the top.

Fortunately a quick-thinking woman pushed the emergency stop button while a man ran up the escalator to pull the youngster to safety, who was shaken but otherwise fine.

Mrs Hodgetts, from Bromsgrove, told the Standard the incident could have been a lot more serious.

"People were just shouting at her to hold on and not let go," she said.

"I am still trying to visualise how this could happen, I just want to make other parents aware that this can happen and to take extra safety precautions when they are near to the escalator as I feel the current safety mechanisms that they have in place clearly do not work."

A plastic triangle is installed towards the bottom of the ledge on the outside of the escalator but Mrs Hodgetts said she had been told CCTV footage showed Ava had managed to bypass it.

Ken Williams, Kingfisher Centre manager, said he had spoken to Mrs Hodgetts and reviewed CCTV footage of the incident as part of an investigation into the matter.

"The escalators are working fine and all of the safety measures are in place. It was fortunate that Ava walked up the side. There's nothing untoward or wrong with the escalator and at the moment we don't see there's anything we can do that will improve matters."

He added there was nothing that could be put onto the escalator to prevent someone climbing up the side.

"It's anticipated that someone who is three-years-old would be supervised and kept from going near a moving escalator."

Mrs Hodgetts added she would like to thank the man and woman who helped her daughter personally and has asked them to leave their contact details with the Standard by calling editorial on 01527 588688.

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