Malaysian authorities were on Tuesday investigating a collision between metro trains in Kuala Lumpur that injured more than 200 people, as dramatic accounts emerged of the crash. A packed train collided with another that was empty and heading in the opposite direction at around 8:45 pm (1245 GMT) Monday in an underground tunnel close to the landmark Petronas Twin Towers.
Passengers were left battered and bruised after being thrown across carriages during the crash, with many evacuated on stretchers. Most suffered minor injuries but 64 were taken to hospital and six were in critical condition Tuesday, authorities said.
One passenger, Lim Mahfudz, described the moment the trains collided. “This resulted in all seated passengers being thrown… and standing passengers being thrown," he wrote on Twitter, adding people were injured as glass flew around the carriage.
It was a “real nightmare", he said. “The impact was so strong that I suffered injuries to my head, left leg and chest," another passenger, Afiq Luqman Mohd Baharudin, told official news agency Bernama.
Shaken passengers had to be evacuated by emergency workers from the tunnel and brought up to the surface. The empty train had a driver at the controls and was being tested after repairs, authorities said, while the full train was on autopilot.
Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said that initial investigations suggested human error was to blame and that the driver had driven the empty train in the wrong direction. “This caused the (head-on) collision," he said.
The accident happened close to a station under the Twin Towers — one of the busiest on the network. The affected line resumed services early Tuesday. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has described the crash as “serious" and urged authorities and the train operator to “conduct an in-depth probe".
The accident was the worst on the metro system since it began operations about 25 years ago, although there have been less serious incidents. In 2008, four passengers suffered minor injuries when two trains collided.