Date
23 August 2017
MTR staff inspect a Kwun Tong Line tunnel (left) while passengers pack stations during Monday evening's rush hour power outage which disrupted train services. Photos: Now TV
MTR staff inspect a Kwun Tong Line tunnel (left) while passengers pack stations during Monday evening's rush hour power outage which disrupted train services. Photos: Now TV

Eight passengers taken to hospital as MTR services collapse

Train services on the MTR’s Kwun Tong line were suspended during the evening rush hour on Monday due to a power failure at the Kowloon Bay station, causing traffic jams on the road and chaos for commuters.

The power failure was reported to have occurred at about 6 p.m., leading to a blackout and a complete halt of train services on the affected line, according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal. 

A train was stuck between Kowloon Bay and Choi Hung stations for nearly an hour without air-conditioning and lighting. Passengers onboard had to open windows manually for ventilation.

Most of the passengers remained calm awaiting rescue. A passenger, surnamed Cheung, said the train had suddenly slowed and stopped after a loud noise.

Another commuter, surnamed Leung, said that when the train came to a stop, he saw sparks coming from between the train carriages after three “banging sounds”.

The passengers walked about 50 meters along the rail track from a platform in Choi Hung station.

A total of eight people had to be hospitalized with breathing difficulties.

The incident paralysed East Kowloon traffic for nearly two hours as people scrambled to take road transport after MTR services were cut to 30-minute intervals.

Bus companies increased service frequencies along the Kwun Tong line. Many bus stops in Kwun Tong, Ngau Tau Kok and Mong Kok were chaotic as long lines formed.

After nearly two and a half hours, trains finally resumed to normal services at 8:30 p.m., Now News reports.

MTR operations director Lau Tin-shing said the problem had originated in the power cables between Choi Hung station and Kowloon Bay station.

He described the events as serious and said they would undertake a thorough investigation and find ways to improve communication with commuters.

Legislator Andrew Wan urged the MTR to review its crisis management mechanisms to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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