MRT track accident

SMRT names external experts to review probe

Report will be given to MOM, police for their investigations before findings made public

Transport operator SMRT has completed its internal investigations into the cause of a track accident which claimed the lives of two of its young employees last month.

But the Temasek-owned company would not reveal its findings. It said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and police would have to complete their investigations before anything can be made public.

The Straits Times understands that the tragic incident is likely to have been caused by multiple lapses in safety protocol.

SMRT said yesterday that it has appointed experts from Keppel and Transport for London - the equivalent of Singapore's Land Transport Authority - as well as a former executive of Hong Kong's MTR to review its findings. The review will be carried out with SMRT board members. After that, a report will be handed over to MOM and the police for their statutory investigations, an SMRT spokesman said.

Singaporeans Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26, and Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, were hit by a train near Pasir Ris station when they were on the track to investigate a technical fault on the morning of March 22.

The two men, who had just joined SMRT in January, were part of a team of 15 dispatched to look into a reported alarm from a monitoring device.

They were killed by a train travelling at 60kmh in automatic mode. The driver, understood to be an SMRT veteran, applied the emergency brakes but could not stop in time.

The accident was the second one in six years that led to the death of SMRT staff. In 2010, technician Chia Teck Heng, 48, was hit by a train while attending to a fault on the Bukit Panjang LRT. He had injuries to his head and legs, and died 12 days later without emerging from a coma.

Rail operators have had mixed safety records when it comes to staff fatalities. According to MTR's latest sustainability reports, the Hong Kong company had zero fatality from 2009 to 2014. Likewise, London Underground has had zero workforce fatality for over a decade, according to the UK Office of Rail Regulation. But in New York, nine city subway workers have been killed since 2000, according to the New York City Transit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2016, with the headline 'SMRT names external experts to review probe'. Print Edition | Subscribe