KUALA LUMPUR - Two light rail transit (LRT) trains collided on Monday (May 24) evening in an underground tunnel in Kuala Lumpur, leaving hundreds of passengers injured.
The collision hurt 213 people, of whom 47 were seriously injured while 166 sustained light injuries, said Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong.
“The 47 who were seriously wounded have been sent to the hospital,” he told local media.
Pictures and videos of the accident site show ambulances at the scene and emergency personnel attending to those with light injuries.
Others were being carried out into ambulances from Avenue K, a mall with direct access to the underground LRT line and which sits across the street from the Petronas Twin Towers.
Police said there was a head-on collision between two LRT trains on a track near the Petronas Twin Towers and next-door Kampung Baru station along Malaysia’s busiest train line, the Kelana Jaya LRT line.
The head of Kuala Lumpur’s main police station at Dang Wangi, Assistant Commissioner Zainal Abdullah, said a driverless passenger train collided head on with an empty, manually driven train travelling from the other direction at 8.45pm.
Kuala Lumpur’s Kelana Jaya LRT trains are driverless and operated from a control centre.
“The driver of the train could not ‘detect’ the other train because of a miscommunication at the control centre,” he said, as quoted by the Free Malaysia Today news site. “By right, the two trains should not be on the same track.”
One of the trains was empty and the other filled with passengers, some of whom were “thrown about and fell” on the floor, Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa said on Twitter.
“It is understood there are some injuries but no deaths,” he said, noting that this was a preliminary assessment of the incident.
Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a Facebook post that the crash was “serious”.
“I have instructed the transport minister and (train) operator... to conduct an in-depth probe to find out the cause of the accident,” he said.
LRT operator Prasarana Malaysia said in an earlier statement that two of its trains experienced an “incident”.
“Our team is mobilising help and rescue assistance right now. Please stay calm and follow instructions. We apologise for any worry or anxiety caused.
“We are working as quickly as possible to extend aid and rectify the situation,” it said.
Prasarana Malaysia said the collision was between LRT trains 40 and 81, but did not indicate which was the one containing passengers.
Videos and pictures of the incident circulated on social media show people lying on the floor of a train carriage. One video shows someone bleeding from lacerations to the arm, The Star daily reported. Other images appear to show shattered glass and crumpled parts of the train carriage.
The Kelana Jaya line, with 37 stations, was the first fully automated metro line in Malaysia when it opened in 1998. It served nearly 300,000 people a day before the Covid-19 pandemic.