36 injured as SMRT trains collide at Joo Koon MRT Station

Hannah Teoh
Senior Content Producer
Photo: Yahoo News Singapore/Hannah Teoh

UPDATED at 7pm on 16 November 2017 to reflect the latest number of injured persons involved in the collision.

An SMRT train collided with a stationary train near the Joo Koon MRT Station Wednesday morning (15 November), causing injuries to 36 people, including two SMRT staff members.

Train operator SMRT and Land Transport Authority (LTA) said initially in a joint statement that there were 28 injuries in total, including three walk-ins at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) later in the afternoon.

Out of the 15 injured persons sent to the National University Hospital (NUH), one declined treatment and returned home, 13 received treatment and were discharged, and one person is currently warded for observation.

Of the 13 injured persons sent to NTFGH – including the walk-ins – nine have been treated and discharged, two are being treated and another two have been warded for observation.

In another joint SMRT-LTA statement issued on Wednesday night, the total number of injured was revised upward to 29 after NTFGH admitted a walk-in from an injured passenger at about 7.30pm.

A subsequent SMRT-LTA update on Thursday evening raised the number of injured to 36 as one more walk-in case was seen at NUH and five walk-in cases were attend to at NTFGH earlier that day. Another injured person was also conveyed via ambulance to NTFGH that day.

According to SMRT, a train heading in the direction of Tuas Link Station stalled at Joo Koon Station. At 8.19am, a second train stopped behind the first faulty train, but a minute later, the second train moved forward unexpectedly and came into contact with the first train.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in Facebook post that they were alerted to the incident at 8.33am and had sent 23 injured passengers to hospitals. It said that the “majority sustained minor injuries”.

Over the five hours from when the incident occurred, about 40 SMRT personnel were seen on the station platform inspecting the accident site. SMRT chief executive officer Desmond Kuek was spotted at the station around 10.45am but did not address the media at the time.

Trains continued to run in both directions on the unaffected side of the station platform, with SMRT announcing that commuters should expect 10 minutes of extra travelling time between Joo Koon and Tuas Link stations.

Commuters alighting at Joo Koon station were also asked by SMRT staff not to take photos of the accident scene.

SMRT and the Land Transport Authority are investigating the incident, the rail operator said. A post on SMRT’s Facebook page at 2pm said that train services in both directions between Boon Lay and Tuas Link would be suspended for two hours as of 2pm.

“This is to facilitate the recovery of the two trains involved in this morning’s incident at Joo Koon MRT station. We are doing all we can to restore services safely and expeditiously,” the post said, adding that free bus and bridging bus services would be available between Boon Lay and Tuas Link.

Earlier, SMRT announced on Twitter that commuters on the East West Line should expect 30 minutes added train travel time between Jurong East and Joo Koon stations, saying that a train fault had occurred at Joo Koon.

The last such front-to-back train collision took place in August 1993 at Clementi station and left 156 people injured. In the wake of the accident, an independent inquiry panel was formed to look into the matter and SMRT subsequently revised some of its operating procedures.

One commuter posted a video of what appeared to be the aftermath of a “train accident”, with passengers walking towards the front of a train.

This story was updated at 5pm on 15 November 2017.

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