Malaysia Train Collision Injures Over 200 People
More than 200 people were injured in Malaysia’s largest city, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday when a train full of passengers collided head-on in a tunnel with another train on a test run, the authorities said.
The trains were traveling at speeds of 12 to 25 miles an hour when they crashed on Monday evening. The authorities said all 213 passengers were hurt, including 47 who suffered serious injuries. No fatalities were reported.
Hours after the crash, Malaysia’s prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, called for a “full investigation” in a post on his Facebook page. “I take this accident seriously,” he said.
Photos and videos of the scene posted on social media showed injured passengers lying on the floor of the train and others lying on stretchers outside as paramedics treated them and put them in ambulances. Many other passengers sat nearby. Several had their heads wrapped in bandages.
Malaysia’s transportation minister, Wee Ka Siong, told reporters that the accident was the first head-on collision in the 23-year history of the city’s Light Rail Transit system.
The trains are automated and typically operate without a driver. But the train that was on a test run was under the control of a driver, the only person aboard.
The authorities said they would investigate whether there was a mistake made at the light rail command center.
“We are still investigating the incident,” Mohamad Zainal Abdullah, the police chief of the district where the collision occurred, told reporters, “but we suspect that perhaps there was a miscommunication from the trains’ operation control center.”
The accident occurred near Kuala Lumpur City Center, an upscale area filled with shops and restaurants, and the Petronas Towers, the city’s best-known landmark and at one point the world’s tallest building. The twin towers, the city center complex and the light rail system were key elements of Kuala Lumpur’s modernization in the late 1990s under the former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad.
The trains began operating again on Tuesday morning.
One injured passenger, Afiq Luqman Mohd Baharudin, 27, said the impact threw many passengers to the floor. The train had stopped for about 15 minutes and had just begun moving again when the collision occurred, he told the government media outlet, Bernama.
“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,” he said.
Mr. Wee, the transportation minister, told Channel News Asia that he would create a task force to investigate the crash and expected a preliminary report in two weeks.
“This is something that is out of the ordinary and it is not supposed to happen,” he said. “Is it signaling, or system, or complications, or human error? A special task force will be formed and its objective is to determine the exact cause of the collision.”