Malaysian train collision injures more than 200 people

Rescue personnel help injured passengers at KLCC station after two light rail trains collided in a tunnel, injuring more than 200 people in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, May 24, 2021. (AP Photo)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Two light rail trains collided in a tunnel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, injuring more than 200 people, in the first major crash for the 23-year-old metro system.

Pictures on social media after the Monday night collision showed bloodied passengers, some lying on the floor of the carriage strewn with blood and shattered glass.

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong told local media that a metro train carrying 213 passengers collided with a vacant carriage on a test-run in a tunnel near the Petronas Towers, one of the world’s tallest twin towers.

“One carriage was travelling at 20 kilometers per hour (12.4 mph) and another at around 40 kilometers per hour (24.8 mph) when the collision happened. This caused a significant jolt that threw some passengers out of their seats,” he was quoted as saying.

Federal Territory Minister Annuar Musa tweeted Tuesday that three passengers were in critical condition and have been intubated. More than 40 had serious injuries and another 160 had minor injuries.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin pledged a full investigation into the cause. Police said they suspected a miscommunication from the trains’ operation control center. The vacant carriage had a driver while the train with passengers was a fully-automated and controlled by the operation center.

The crash affected one of three light rail lines connecting Kuala Lumpur and surrounding suburbs. Prasarana Malaysia Berhad, a government-owned company that owns the metro system, said train services resumed Tuesday morning.

The metro system reportedly carries over 350,000 passengers daily, although ridership has been reduced to ensure social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some passengers were left in shock. Afiq Luqman Mohamad Baharudin, 27, told national Bernama news agency that many people were flung from their seats or fell on the floor. He said the train had stopped for 15 minutes just before the mishap.

“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 was quoted as saying.