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Tuesday November 1, 2011
By MUGUNTAN VANAR, RUBEN SARIO and DURIE RAINER email@example.com
KOTA KINABALU: A train carrying 200 passengers collided with a fuel tanker at an “unmanned” railway crossing, causing a massive explosion in Kepayan here. Twelve people were seriously injured and 34 passengers could not be traced.
Most of the passengers scrambled out from the rear driver's compartment to flee the inferno that erupted after the collision.
Police have ascertained that no one was inside the four wrecked carriages.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said the train rammed the tank section of the lorry carrying some 27,000 litres of petrol as it was heading into a petrol station to deliver the fuel.
The first carriage derailed upon impact while the second one landed atop the tanker that exploded at the crossing which Sabah Railways director Mohd Zin Mohd Said had classified as “illegal.”
The Star learned that at least two injured passengers were rushed to hospital by members of the public while six others were taken by ambulance.
It is learnt that the commuters were picked up at the Sembulan and Tanjung Aru stations here and were mainly office workers returning from the city to their homes in Papar town about 45km away.
Hamza said police had detained the oil tanker driver for questioning while the train driver Ali Ramli, 50, escaped injury.
The horrific crash comes hardly seven months after Sabah Railways restarted its services on Feb 21 with a massive upgrade of its 134km rail track and new diesel engine train sets.
The colonial railway is the only commercial rail line in the island of Borneo.
It operates services from Kota Kinabalu to west coast towns and interior Tenom.
Since the reopening, there have been several accidents at “unmanned” crossings though there were no serious injuries until yesterday's incident.
“This is the worst mishap in our history,” said Mohd Zin.
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