An escalator in a Colombian mall almost took a young boy’s arm off on Saturday as the child was almost sucked into the machine.
Although local authorities admitted that the mall does not comply with national safety guidelines, the latter still insists that the father of the victim was at fault.
Reinaldo Llinás, Daniella Navarro, and their two-year-old son were riding a downward escalator on Saturday evening at the Gran Plaza del Sol mall in Soledad, a municipality of the coastal town of Barranquilla.
Video footage obtained by daily El Heraldo, albeit blurry, showed Llinás carrying his son on his shoulders when the toddler fell and got stuck on the escalator’s tread. The escalator was stopped midway.
“My son’s arm slipped to the cracks of the step. He started screaming in pain. I tried to get his little arm but I can’t because it’s stuck until I finally managed to get him out and ran down looking for the nearest exit,” Llinás told El Heraldo.
He added that the only mall official who helped them was a security guard who accompanied them to a cab.
“We are not looking for money, but they should’ve at least come because the accident happened in their area,” said Rosa Llinás, the victim’s aunt.
The boy suffered deep cuts on his left arm. He will remain under observation to check his fractures and if a surgery is needed. His family hopes that it will not resort to an operation.
A statement from Gran Plaza del Sol blamed the “father’s negligence” for the accident.
“He was the one who lost control coming down the escalator with the child on his shoulders, causing the child to fall,” El Heraldo quoted. However, if the step was not cracked, the child’s arm wouldn’t have become stuck.
The Risk Management Department of Soledad, located admitted that local shopping centers are not “in compliance” with legal guidelines.
Article 42 of Act 1523 rules that all establishments that offer public services to carry out a risk analysis to consider the possible effects of exposed infrastructure and events arising from damages in its area of influence or operation.
Erika Meisel, the mall manager, said that their escalators are “constantly reviewed” by the manufacturer.
“We have our emergency brigade to such events. In fact, there was a watchman on a ladder who was very attentive,” Meisel added.
“My wife and I demand that the authorities tell the store to fix those stairs because I don’t want any more children to suffer like what happened to my son,” Llinás said.
Several mall vendors, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the publication that the escalator has been broken for months. Damaged electrical structures were also left unattended.