Six people were in a critical condition and over 200 injured in the head-on collision between two light rail trains (LRT) on Monday night, making it the first major crash for the 23-year-old metro system in Malaysia.
According to local news reports, the collision took place in Kuala Lumpur on Monday around 8.45pm between a train on a test run with only the driver and the other carrying 213 passengers. The accident took place in a tunnel near the Petronas Towers – the world’s tallest twin structures.
Preliminary investigations have revealed that “driver negligence” was the cause of the accident, Malaysian transport minister Wee Ka Siong was quoted as saying by English-language news channel CNA on Tuesday.
Pictures shared on social media following the incident showed bloodied passengers, including some on the floor of a carriage that had shattered glass. They also showed emergency responders attending to those seriously injured and carrying them out on stretchers.
Mr Siong told local media that “one carriage was travelling at 20kph and another at around 40kph when the collision happened. This caused a significant jolt that threw some passengers out of their seats.”
According to the Malay Mail, 64 people were hospitalised, six of whom are critically injured.
Passengers were left in shock after many of them were thrown to the floor due to the impact of the collision, according to reports.
Afiq Luqman Mohamad Baharudin, 27, told Bernama news agency: “We had only moved for a few seconds when the crash happened and the impact was so strong that I suffered injuries to my head, left leg and chest.”
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin pledged a full investigation into the incident while police said they suspected a miscommunication from the trains’ operation control centre. The vacant vehicle had a driver while the train with passengers was fully automated and controlled by the operation centre.
The collision affected operations on one of the three light rail lines connecting Kuala Lumpur and surrounding suburbs.
Prasarana Malaysia Berhad, a government-owned company that owns the metro system ferrying over 350,000 passengers daily, claimed train services resumed on Tuesday morning but some social media users claimed that normal train services were impacted due to the incident.
Additional reporting by agencies