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SMRT accident: Investigation will focus on how the men were hit by oncoming train
[SINGAPORE] The two SMRT maintenance staff killed in an accident on Tuesday morning were part of a group of workers on a walkway beside the tracks. The walkway was described as a safe passage.
The group of 15 were walking in single file in the direction of the oncoming train, SMRT chief executive Desmond Kuek said on Tuesday evening. He added: "We are investigating exactly how they got hit by the train. What we know is that they were walking along in a single file, along the side, along the walkway, they (the deceased) were the No 2 and No 3, the supervisor was in front of them.
"Exactly how they got onto the track, or got close enough to the oncoming train that was moving in the direction opposite to them is the issue we are investigating."
The train was being driven automatically and was travelling at 60kmh coming into Pasir Ris MRT station when it hit the two men, he said.
About 35 people were on the train. Passengers on two trains had to disembark. About 10,000 to 15,000 people were affected by the accident, which affected train services on the East-West Line between Tanah Merah and Pasir Ris stations for more than two hours.
Asked why the group was doing maintenance work while trains were operating, Mr Kuek said: "This is standard. Whenever there is a track fault, regardless if it is a revenue service or during engineering hours, we have to investigate."
Staff walk on the walkways beside the tracks a few times a month to carry out maintenance during service hours. It is a routine activity, Mr Kuek added.
SMRT's vice-president for corporate information and communications Patrick Nathan had earlier said that the group were investigating a reported alarm from a condition monitoring device for signalling equipment.
The deceased, Singaporeans Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26, and Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, had been undergoing on-the-job training when the accident occurred.
SMRT is extending support to families and all the colleagues who knew the two staff, said Mr Kuek, who added that he is deeply saddened by the incident.
[THE STRAITS TIMES]