LRT train mishap: Accident due to human error, says Transport Minister

PETALING JAYA: A preliminary investigation has found that the collision of two LRT trains on the Kelana Jaya line is due to negligence, says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

He said that the investigation found that the accident was due to the negligence of the driver who was manually driving train 40, which had no passengers at the time.

"It was due to the mistake by the person driving the train in the wrong direction," he said during a live press conference via Zoom on Tuesday (May 25).

Dr Wee explained that the initial Land Public Transport Agency investigation found that Train 40 was supposed to head on the southbound line towards the Dang Wangi station, but it headed on the northbound line towards the Gombak depot instead.

"This caused Train 40 and Train 81 to collide, ” he added.

Dr Wee said Train 40 was manually driven by a "hostler" (train driver) because the automatic system in the coach was found to be faulty.

"The driver was then ordered to manually drive the coach from the Kampung Baru station towards the Dang Wangi station.

He added that at the same time, Train 81 was operating automatically when it was carrying passengers and was heading southbound towards Kampung Baru at 8.40pm from KLCC after receiving information that Train 40 was heading towards the Dang Wangi station.

"At 8.33pm, the hostler called the command centre and informed that Train 40 had collided with another train and at 8.37pm, the hostler from Train 40 identified Train 81 as the train it crashed into, carrying 213 passengers."

Dr Wee added that the ambulance, police and fire brigade arrived at about 8.50pm and victims were moved from the train.

He said that Train 81 was then moved to a point between the KLCC LRT station and the Kampung Baru LRT station, adding that all passengers were evacuated by 9.28pm.

On those injured in the accident, Dr Wee said six of the 65 victims who were treated in HKL are in a critical condition, while 15 are in a semi-critical state.

He added that while Prasarana would extend financial assistance of RM1,000 to the victims, Dr Wee said the government's priority now is to ensure that the victims receive adequate medical treatment.

He also said financial assistance would be extended to those who lost their souces of income due to this accident.

"For the Transport Ministry, we sympathise with those who were injured, ” said Dr Wee.

On the investigation of the accident, Dr Wee said the Transport Ministry has set up a investigating committee to probe the accident and added that it will be headed by Ministry secretary general Datuk Isham Ishak with Normah Osman as his deputy.

He said the committee will consist of nine members, which will include industry experts and leaders from the relevant government agencies.

Dr Wee said site workers were given three days to clear debris in the rail platform, and he assured commuters that efforts are underway to ensure that there won't be overcrowding at LRT stations as alternate buses will be provided for free.

"We will also mobilise officers to ensure SOP compliance and we will limit commuters at the platforms," he said. We hope that this can be solved in the coming days," he added.

On Monday (May 24) night, a train under manual control that was undergoing testing had run into another that was carrying 213 passengers between the underground KLCC and Kampung Baru stations.

The incident left 47 people severely injured and 166 others with light injuries.

They were later sent to Hospital Kuala Lumpur for treatment.

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