KUALA LUMPUR: Preliminary investigations into the head-on collision between two LRT trains has indicated that driver negligence was the cause of the accident, said Malaysian Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong on Tuesday (May 25).
The collision, which occurred near KLCC station on Monday evening, injured more than 210 passengers, with six presently in critical condition.
In a press conference, the minister said: "Preliminary investigations indicate that the accident was the result of carelessness of the hostler who drove TR40 in the wrong direction." The hostler was driving the faulty train to the depot.
"TR40 was supposed to travel southbound towards Dang Wangi, but it moved northbound, a different orientation. This resulted in the collision between TR40 and TR 81."
Dr Wee explained that TR40, which wasn't carrying any passengers, was heading southbound from Gombak to Subang, when it "suffered a failure" at Kampung Baru station. The failure occurred because the train had failed to operate automatically.
The central operations centre then instructed the driver of TR40 to drive the train manually from Kampung Baru station to Dang Wangi station, said Dr Wee.
However, at 8.33pm, the driver contacted central command to inform the latter that TR40 had collided with another train, which was later identified as TR81. There were 213 passengers on TR81.
Earlier in the day, Dr Wee announced that a special task force has been formed to investigate the cause of the incident.
He added that the task force, which will be headed by the transport ministry's chief secretary, will be given two weeks to present their findings on the incident.
The collision is the first accident in 23 years of LRT operations in Malaysia.
The Kelana Jaya Line operating company Prasarana Malaysia has outlined that out of the 213 passengers affected, 64 were still hospitalised at Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
Out of the 64, six are in critical condition. Three of them require ventilation support.
When asked during the press conference to comment on the financial losses incurred from the incident, Dr Wee said that it was too early to estimate since the authorities were still cleaning the debris and fixing the damaged track.
He added that this process will take "three days" but reassured commuters that train services will proceed.
On Tuesday morning, Prasarana Malaysia said that the LRT Kelana Jaya Line in Kuala Lumpur resumed service at 6am with trains operating on a single track, adding that there will also be supporting shuttle bus services.
On Monday night, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that he has instructed the Transport Ministry and Prasarana Malaysia to conduct a "full investigation to identify the cause of the accident". He added that "stern action will be taken immediately".