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Unsupervised girl dies after falling down elevator shaft

By Zhao Wen  (Shanghai Daily)

08:47, July 08, 2013

An eight-year-old girl fell to her death in an elevator shaft on Saturday at a construction site where her parents worked, police said yesterday.

The girl's body was not found until 10:30pm on Saturday at the bottom of the No. 3 elevator shaft at Shanghai Everbright City Industrial Zone in Zhabei District.

The girl, who is from Anhui Province, came to Shanghai on Saturday to see her parents. Her parents said she went out to play alone after lunch and never came back.

They didn't start looking for her in the zone until around dinner time. They grieved when they saw her at the bottom of the elevator shaft.

Construction workers told Xinmin Evening News that the lift malfunctioned about 2pm on Saturday and repair workers had come to fix it.

Police said they believe the girl accidentally stepped into the elevator shaft and fell to the bottom.

Police and work safety supervisors are still investigating the cause of the accident.

Tragic reunion

Despite repeated warnings about child safety, accidents continue to happen in the city. They vary from falls and traffic accidents to drowning cases. In most incidents, the children were left unsupervised.

"It is a shame that a sweet reunion has become a bitter tragedy," said Yan Suqin, a counselor with Youth Service Hotline 12355.

Many migrant children come to Shanghai during the summer vacation to visit their parents, who often are away from their hometowns for most of the year.

Yan said migrant workers should not let their children stay at home or play alone because their living environment is totally different in Shanghai compared to their hometowns.

Dangers are different

"The dangers are different in Shanghai from those in rural areas," Yan said. "Parents should always take their children with them or ask others to help look after them."

Yan said parents should not let their children go to dangerous places like construction sites or lock children at home, where gas stoves, electricity outlets and windows are potential hazards.

"It's good that children visit their parents during the vacation as it promotes stronger family bonds," Yan said. "But parents should take responsibility to protect their children from getting into danger."

She suggested migrant parents send their children to day care centers if they can afford it.

"I think our city government could set up more day care centers, especially for migrant children. Migrant workers have become an indispensable group for the development of Shanghai," she added.

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