A crowded fifteen-story escalator goes into free-fall in this terrifying video

A pair of escalator mechanics have been arrested after police say they tampered with an escalator in the Langham Place mall in the Mong Kok area of Hong Kong, causing a potentially fatal accident.

They were questioned after an incident in which the escalator abruptly changed directions, sending passengers plummeting to the ground floor of the mall. Eighteen were injured; one man was hospitalized in serious condition for a head wound.

In a statement obtained by CNN, Otis Elevator Company spokesperson Ian Fok called the arrest of their employees “a surprise.” He added, “Our legal team is working with law enforcement to clarify the situation and intends to defend our mechanics.”

Video obtained by the South China Morning Post shows the moment the escalator changed directions, eliciting screams from dozens of people riding at the time.

RELATED: Watch the stunning moment a jam-packed escalator reversed and turned humans into dominoes

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