On 24 May, Malaysia experienced one of the worst train accidents ever recorded in the country when two Rapid LRT trains crashed into each other
The aftermath was pretty severe, with 47 people sustaining serious injuries while 166 others suffered minor injuries. There was also a lawsuit filed against Prasarana:
With the public seeking answers, our Transport Minister has revealed the possible reasons behind the crash.
A series of glitches
On Thursday (10 June), Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said in a press conference that the devastating crash was caused by technical glitches and loss of communication.
Wee said in the press conference quoted by New Straits Times
that it all started when Train 40 had earlier experienced technical difficulties, which resulted in one of its Vehicle On-Board Communication (VOBC) system breaking down at around 6.26pm.
According to Wee, the standby VOBC system kicked in, and the train was vacated of passengers and manually brought to the Lembah Subang depot via Automated Train Operation (ATO) mode to have the system checked and fixed.
"However, at 8.13pm, the second VOBC on Train 40 halted and there was a lost of communication (time-out) with the OCC while it was en route to the Lembah Subang depot," he was quoted as saying.
When it experiences a time-out, a train would come to a complete stop, and that's what happened to Train 40 as it stopped between the Kampung Baru and KLCC LRT stations.
Operations control loses contact
As the train was in a time-out, the operations control centre (OCC) lost all contact with the train, Wee said.
A train hostler (basically a train driver) was then reportedly called in to manually reset both VOBC systems and drive Train 40 to the 're-enter' point near the Dang Wangi LRT station in an attempt to switch the train back to ATO mode.
However, that was when several critical mistakes were made, according to Wee.
"During the process of resetting both VOBCs and driving Train 40 manually to the re-enter point, both the hostler and OCC's train controller had overlooked and missed critical procedures during this process."
This resulted in Train 40 heading towards the opposite direction; instead of being moved manually southbound towards the re-entry point at the Dang Wangi station, the train was headed northbound towards the KLCC station.
Meanwhile, Train 81, which was filled with passengers, was held back at the KLCC station with a Manual Route Reservation (MRR) protection system in place while Prasarana personnel were sorting out Train 40's situation.
However, a technical glitch reportedly lifted the MRR, resulting in Train 81 prematurely depart the KLCC station. At the time, Wee said that there was no confirmation made that Train 40 had been safely reset and re-entered into ATO mode.
At 8.33pm, both Train 81 and Train 40 collided into each other.
Patients showing positive development
A total of 47 commuters were seriously injured in the ill-fated accident.
Wee told News Straits Times
in a seperate report that three of the critically-injured commuters have now been transferred to the neurosurgery ward in the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
According to Wee, the three patients, who were previously warded in the intensive care unit (ICU), are recovering well.
"We are relieved that they had received intensive care by the medical specialists there," he was quoted as saying.
Wee added that Prasarana will be held accountable for the incident.
We pray for the swift recovery of all those who were involved in the accident.