SINGAPORE: Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan apologised to commuters for Wednesday’s (Nov 15) incident in which 29 people were injured.
Speaking to reporters after a joint press conference in which the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT sought to explain its preliminary findings on the contact between two trains, Mr Khaw said he was as upset as commuters.
“It’s an awful day,” Mr Khaw said.
“Commuters were inconvenienced and some were even injured. So we are deeply sorry for that. Those who were injured and are in hospitals, the Second Minister (for Transport), Ng Chee Meng as well as Senior Minister of State for Transport, Dr Lam (Pin Min) visited all of them. They have been most understanding and we are deeply grateful.”
On whether there would be a Committee of Inquiry to get to the bottom of the incident, Mr Khaw said this could be determined as the investigation progresses. He said if the facts surrounding the incident are clear, there would be no need to have one.
He also said he advised SMRT and LTA to suspend train service from Joo Koon to Tuas Link on Thursday, for system provider Thales to conduct a thorough check.
“This is the first major incident involving the new signalling system,” Mr Khaw said.
“Thales is confident of the system and I advised the team, ‘lets play doubly safe’- safety is involved. That’s why I advised them to suspend the Tuas West Extension (operations) tomorrow. Then we have a whole day to do a thorough check before we resume the Tuas West extension.”
INJURIES AND COMPENSATION
During the press conference, LTA and SMRT provided more details on injuries sustained by commuters who were on the second train when it made contact with the first one on the platform.
LTA’s Deputy Chief Executive of Infrastructure and Development, Chua Chong Kheng said most of the injured commuters were treated for injuries such as knocks, falls and bruises.
Mr Chua said one had a face injury and a broken tooth, while others sustained facial injuries when they hit the grab bars during the impact.
SMRT’s Senior Vice President of Rail Operations on the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL), Alvin Kek said care teams were deployed to assist passengers who sustained injuries.
He said SMRT also has a compensation process in place. Mr Kek said those who sustained injuries but were not taken to hospital can also approach SMRT at any station and they will be assisted.