More than 200 people injured after trains collide in Kuala Lumpur

It was the first major crash for the 23-year-old metro system in the Malaysian capital

Rescue personnel help injured passengers at KLCC station after two light rail trains collided in a tunnel, injuring more than 200 people in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, May 24, 2021. (AP Photo)

More than 200 people were injured when two metro trains collided in a tunnel in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur on Monday night.

This was the first major crash on the 23-year-old light railway network.

Pictures on social media showed bloodied passengers, some lying on the floor of the carriage, which was spattered with blood and strewn with shattered glass.

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong told local media that a metro train carrying 213 passengers and an empty train on a test run collided in a tunnel near the landmark Petronas Towers, at around 8.45pm.

"One [train] was travelling at 20 kilometres per hour and another at around 40 kilometres per hour when the collision happened. This caused a significant jolt that threw some passengers out of their seats," he said.

Federal Territory Minister Annuar Musa tweeted on Tuesday that three passengers were in a critical condition and had been placed on ventilators.

More than 40 passengers suffered serious injuries and another 160 had minor injuries, he said.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin promised a full investigation.

Police said they suspected a miscommunication from the operations control centre.

The empty train on the test run had a driver, while the in-service train was fully automated and controlled by the operation centre.

The crash affected one of three light rail lines connecting Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding suburbs. Prasarana Malaysia Berhad, a government-owned company that owns the metro system, said services resumed Tuesday morning.

Passengers were left in shock. Afiq Luqman Mohamad Baharudin, 27, told the Bernama news agency that many people were flung from their seats or fell on the floor.

He said the train had stopped for 15 minutes just before the accident.

"We had only moved for a few seconds when the crash happened and the impact was so strong that I suffered injuries to my head, left leg and chest," he said.

Kuala Lumpur's metro system usually carries over 350,000 passengers daily, although capacity has been reduced during the coronavirus pandemic.