An MTR subway train derailed and broke into two while entering a station in Hung Hom on Kowloon. The drama, during peak hour on Tuesday morning, caused delays and chaos – but fortunately no deaths.
The fire service department received a report at 8.33am about the train, which was heading to Hung Hom from Mong Kok East Station, jumping off the tracks.
The train carriages detached and a door flew off before the train stopped. Some carriages ended up bent across the tracks.
MTR Corp. said a total of three carriages on the 12-car train went off the tracks during the incident.
Firefighters, paramedics and police arrived and took over the station while a team of firefighters checked the train and the tracks.
Eight passengers reported injuries and illnesses on the platform. After on-site medical treatment, one man and four women were sent to the hospital with injuries to their necks, shoulders, a minor hand injury and feeling unwell, the department said.
A passenger surnamed Fung said the train swayed and shook for about 20 seconds when it was heading to Hung Hom Station, Apple Daily reported.
Another passenger complained that they did not know what had happened as there was no broadcast about the accident. He later followed other passengers’ instruction to get down on the tracks, local broadcaster TVB reported.
Video footage and photos from the scene showed hundreds of passengers having to get down on the tracks by themselves after the accident and walking to the station platform.
Services between Mong Kok East and Hung Hom have been halted, with Hung Hom station closed. Four through trains from Hung Hom to mainland China have been cancelled today, along with three southbound trains.
Alfred Sit, director of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, said the derailment was a very serious rail incident and they would investigate the cause in a thorough, comprehensive and independent way.
Sit confirmed that a crack “around one or two millimeters” was found on the track but needed a further probe to see if it caused the derailment.
He also said there was no testing of the new signal system on Monday night.
In March, two MTR trains collided in the wee hours during testing of the railway company’s new signaling system, causing two trains to be badly damaged after one of the trains tilted and derailed.
The incident spurred rumors and comments on social media that anti-government protesters had caused the drama by throwing objects on the tracks. But Sit said the department would investigate to try to uncover if it was caused by faulty equipment or an object on the tracks.
“Please give the department time to find evidence and confirm the cause of the incident. I will deliver an in-depth and comprehensive report and strive to let everyone know the truth of the matter. But at this moment I want to stress that any speculation may not assist the investigation, but may actually lead it in the wrong direction”, Sit warned.
It might take three to six months to finish the independent report, he said.
After inspecting the site, Frank Chan Fan, the secretary for transport and housing, said the government would not rule out any factor on the cause of the incident, but at this stage they did not want to speculate on any particular suggestions.
Adi Lau, operational director at MTR Corp, apologized to passengers who were injured or adversely affected by the incident. He said it might take some time to resume rail services between Hung Hom and Mong Kok East Station due to repairs that need to be undertaken.
The company said it first needs to find a way to hoist the damaged train back on to the tracks without affecting power lines overhead.
Lau said the company will appoint external experts to conduct an independent probe into the incident.