KUALA LUMPUR, Tuesday, 26 May 2021: It was just like any other evening for passengers on the Kelana Jaya line Light Rail Transit (LRT) train yesterday when the train entered the tunnel near the KLCC and all of a sudden, it stopped, moved again after 15 mins, followed by a loud crashing sound. The train suddenly stopped and the passengers faced a harrowing moment before they were flung, presumably by the impact of its collision with another train.
According to Bernama reports, passenger Afiq Luqman Mohd Baharudin, 27, said the impact of the crash saw everyone being flung and falling to the floor. “The accident, which happened in the tunnel near KLCC, resulted in many passengers, both seated and standing, to suffer injuries,” he said when contacted.
“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 said.
Afiq Luqman said he and the other passengers were helped out by the security team and rushed to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital for further treatment.
Meanwhile, some victims took to social media to share their personal experiences of the crash.
Twitter user Lim Mahfudz was one of those who shared videos and photos of the incident, which he had recorded.
Describing the incident as a tragedy, he tweeted that he was all right and thanked God for saving his life, adding that the whole thing felt like a nightmare.
He said some passengers were also injured by the train’s broken glass panels while some were tossed around as the train stopped suddenly (when it hit the emergency brakes).
The Kelana Jaya Light Rail Transit (LRT) line is operating from 6 am on Tuesday (May 25) morning using a single track following the crash the night before which saw hundreds of people injured.
Free Shuttle Bus Service
Meanwhile, Prasarana Malaysia Berhad (Prasarana) said in a statement that the service, which will be supported by a free shuttle bus service, will operate with a train frequency of 10 mins during peak hours and 30 mins at other times, as well as a 50 per cent capacity reduction, following the government’s announcement on stricter measures in the implementation of the movement control order (MCO).
“Following that, passengers are expected to have to wait a little longer than usual. However, the train frequency may be modified according to needs during the operation, ” Prasarana said in a statement.
To facilitate the movement of passengers during peak hours, five double-decker shuttle buses are provided, free of charge, with a frequency of between 15 and 20 mins during peak hours, to ferry passengers to any station between Pasar Seni and Ampang Park.
The line’s LRT service is expected to be fully restored within three days after the clean-up and repair work is completed, including sanitation at KLCC Station and the surrounding area to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Prasarana deeply regrets the incident and will continue to monitor the progress of passengers involved in yesterday’s incident and will give full cooperation to the authorities regarding the incident.
“Rapid KL service users can now plan their journey more easily using the PULSE application which can be downloaded through the Google Play Store or Apple Store, ” the statement added.
The first Light Rail Transit (LRT) project here began its operation in December 1996 under Phase 1 between the Ampang and Sultan Ismail stations, which was known as STAR LRT then. It is now called the Ampang Line.
In addition, the Klang Valley had two more lines, the Sri Petaling Line, which was part of the STAR LRT network, and the Kelana Jaya Line, which was known as the PUTRA LRT.
The LRT in the Klang Valley had been mooted since the 1980s when the Kuala Lumpur Transport Master Plan study found that the capital needed an integrated rail system to improve its transport infrastructure.
However, since the LRT has been in operation, several incidents have occurred, including accidents that resulted in injuries.
The following are several incidents involving the three routes since operations began:
Oct 27,2006: A STAR-LRT coach derailed and jumped the concrete barrier and ended up dangling 25m above the ground while the train was coming to a stop at its final destination at the Sentul Timur station. There were no passengers in the six coaches.
Nov 24,2007: Two coaches in the middle of the STAR LRT train derailed while approaching the Sentul Timur station, resulting in the disruption of services at five stations from Sentul Timur to Sultan Ismail. Ten passengers were trapped in five trains that were stranded at several locations, but there were no injuries.
Sept 24,2008: Four passengers suffered slight injuries when a STAR-LRT train hit the back of another train. There were about 300 passengers on board both trains.
July 22,2015: Two trains experienced brake system problems at two different locations, namely at the Setiawanga and Universiti stations. No injuries were reported.
Sept 9,2017: Kelana Jaya LRT service was disrupted on the Setiawangsa-KLCC line, causing passengers to be trapped in the train for 20mins.
In the 8.45pm incident on Monday (May 24), a total of 213 passengers were injured, 47 of them seriously, following the collision of two LRT trains on the Kelana Jaya line, which occurred in a tunnel between the KLCC and Kampung Baru station, involving one train carrying passengers and another train, which was said to have been test-driven following a fault, and carried only a driver.-
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the authorities have launched an investigation into the accident that took place underground at 8.45pm.
Dr Wee, who immediately rushed to the scene of the incident, said the injured passengers were rushed to Hospital Kuala Lumpur for treatment.
“Further investigations on the cause of the accident will commence immediately, ” Dr Wee told a press conference at Avenue K, one of the exits to the KLCC LRT station of the Kelana Jaya line.
Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Mohamad Zainal Abdullah said that 47 individuals suffered serious injuries and 166 were lightly injured.
It is understood that one of the trains involved in the collision was not under passenger service, and was being manually driven, though the Kelana Jaya line runs on a fully-automated mode under normal passenger service.
On social media, several pictures and videos of the incident quickly went viral, with some depicting persons bleeding profusely, while others were seen lying on the train floor.
There was broken glass strewn across the floor with many passengers appearing disorientated.
The difficulty in extracting the injured from this rare incident stems from the fact that they had to be manually stretchered out, or walk out on their own, from the mangled trains to the nearest underground station.
Confines Of The Tunnel
According to the Fire and Rescue Department spokesman, care has to be taken to ensure the electricity supply on the track is cut off before rescuers could access the wreckage, while injured passengers have to struggle to walk through the uneven surface and tight confines of the tunnel.
The Kelana Jaya line was the first fully automated metro line in Malaysia when it opened in 1998.
With 37 stations, the Kelana Jaya line is the busiest metro line in Malaysia, moving nearly 300,000 passengers on an average working day before Covid-19 landed here.
The arrival of the pandemic easily wiped out ridership by around 40% of this line that is known to carry up to 350,000 passengers a day during national events.
Construction of this line began in 1994, about the same time as construction of the Ampang LRT Line.
Phase One of operations commenced on Sept 1,1998, between Lembah Subang Depot (next to the Lembah Subang station) and Pasar Seni, while Phase Two from Pasar Seni to Gombak took place on June 1,1999.
In early 2010, the Kelana Jaya line underwent a 17km extension under the LRT extension programme.
By 2016, 13 new stations had been added to the line, which is now connected to the Seri Petaling line at Putra Heights, bringing the total number of stations to 37.
The line is also the first metro line in Malaysia to have underground stations: at Masjid Jamek, Dang Wangi, Kampung Baru, KLCC and Ampang Park. – New Malaysia Herald