Mechanic acquitted over Kaohsiung elevator deaths
A mechanic has been acquitted in a case where two people died in an elevator accident in Kaohsiung about 18 months ago, according to the district court in the southern city.
The defendant, surnamed Li, cannot be held responsible for the deaths of a woman and her son in the elevator accident that occurred in a residential building where the victims lived on Oct. 4, 2013, the court said.
The woman, surnamed Hsieh, fell into the elevator shaft on the seventh floor while trying to rescue her 3-year-old son who was caught between the car and the rim of the shaft opening when the elevator suddenly ascended. Both died instantly.
The prosecutors’ investigation concluded that the sudden rise of the elevator resulted from the failure of a component in its programmable logic controller (PLC) system.
But they charged that the defendant, who was responsible for the 14-year-old elevator’s maintenance, should have warned the building’s management committee of the need to replace the aging PLC.
The prosecutors indicted Li on manslaughter charges. But no one else involved in the management of the building was charged.
The district court, after consult- ing elevator makers concerning the PLC systems, said the defendant could not have been able to foresee the failure of the component.
The court also pointed out that there are no stipulations concerning the service life of elevator PLC systems.
The prosecution could peal against the verdict.