Joo Koon train collision: Passengers thrown to the floor, evacuated from driver's cabin, says witness

Twenty-three passengers and two SMRT staff suffered light to moderate injuries in the incident.
Twenty-three passengers and two SMRT staff suffered light to moderate injuries in the incident.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - Mr Alexandru Robu, 35, was on the westbound train on the East-West Line, when it came to a sudden halt just before Joo Koon MRT station, causing passengers to lose their balance and fall.

"I've experienced sudden stops before on the MRT, but this time it was really bad," the service coordinator told The Straits Times.

Mr Robu, who works in a marine equipment firm, was on the SMRT train which hit a stationary train at Joo Koon at around 8am on Wednesday (Nov 15). According to rail operator SMRT, the train Mr Robu was on stopped behind the first train, but moved forward unexpectedly and came into contact with it.

A total of 23 passengers and two SMRT staff sustained light to moderate injuries and were taken conscious to the National University Hospital and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

Mr Robu said about 70 per cent of the commuters in his train, including himself, were thrown to the floor by the sudden halt. He said he was unhurt.

He said that one man, who looked to be in his 30s, was still lying on the cabin floor, when most other passengers got up after a few minutes.

"I went up to him and apparently he had hit his head and had a back injury. So I held his hand and talked to him," said Mr Robu, adding that he also asked SMRT staff to call for an ambulance.

Mr Robu said his train remained where it was for 20 minutes. Commuters asked SMRT staff to open the doors of the first train carriage, so they could get onto the platform. But they were told it was not possible, as all the doors would have to be opened, he added.

SMRT staff later decided to evacuate the passengers from the driver's cabin, one at a time.

Mr Robu said the injured man was helped to his feet by three commuters, and put in a wheelchair and later an ambulance.

"After I got off, I immediately called my wife and my office to tell them what happened," he added.

Mr Robu, who is from Moldova in Eastern Europe, said he did not plan to take the MRT but had missed his company shuttle at Jurong East MRT station. He intended to take the train to Tuas Link station, near his office. He later got a cab from Joo Koon station to his office.

Mr Robu, who has been working in Singapore for eight years, said he found out about how serious the incident was only after reading media reports. "I really hope SMRT can improve," he said over the phone.