Escalator kept moving with my son's hand still stuck in it, says mother

Two-year-old Tan Chee Heng is recovering from surgery to repair the muscles and tendons in his left hand, which was trapped in the escalator.

PETALING JAYA - A mother held her two-year-old son's hand - then watched in horror as both their hands were "sucked" into the side of a moving escalator.

The terrifying incident happened at the Gateway shopping area in KLIA2 last Friday.

"We were going down the escalator and I was carrying my son," said Aw Yee Wah, 35, referring to Tan Chee Heng.

"He struggled to be let down, so I put him on the step above me. He squatted down, and I immediately grabbed his left hand but suddenly both our hands got pulled under the skirt brush, into the side of the escalator."

Aw was able to pull her hand out but could not extricate her son's.

"The escalator kept moving, even with our hands stuck. Thank God, someone pressed the emergency button to stop it," said Aw, who was also with her engineer husband Tan Ken Siong, 37, and their four-year-old son.

Chee Heng underwent surgery on Saturday to repair the muscles and tendons in his left hand, which were exposed after the incident. He also has a bone fracture.

Doctors are still assessing the full impact of the injury.

Aw claimed that the security guards present merely responded by asking the spectators around them to stop taking photographs.

"It was 15 minutes before a doctor came along. He asked them to call the technicians," she said.

Dr Dalvinder Singh, 29, had just flown in from Sarawak then. He helped airport staff pry open the escalator and administered first aid.

"I am really grateful to him," said Aw.

She later lodged a report with the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and said that director-general Datuk Mohtar Musri had indicated to her that the department was investigating.

A spokesman for Gateway said that emergency services were contacted immediately but in-house technicians helped free the boy before they arrived.

"Our initial findings showed that our team followed the company's SOP for emergency situations. Our team is extending its cooperation to the department, but we can't disclose specifics until the authorities' investigation is completed.

"We understand the parents' concern and wish the boy a speedy recovery," he said.

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