Person killed on MRT tracks near Lavender, East-West MRT service disrupted

Commuters at Aljunied MRT station at around 10pm on Feb 25, after services on the East-West line were disrupted.
PHOTO: Jia Jie Ho

SINGAPORE - Service on the East-West MRT Line was disrupted on Thursday evening (Feb 25) after a person who entered the tracks between Lavender and Kallang stations was killed.

Operator SMRT tweeted at 9.48pm that the service disruption between Bugis and Aljunied was due to a "train incident".

The Straits Times understands a person had intruded into the eastbound tracks from a portal area - a tunnel opening - emerging from Lavender.

It is unclear how the person — which the police later said was a 31-year-old man — had accessed the tracks. ST understands high fences are in place to prevent unauthorised access, but there are parts which can be scaled.

In a statement posted on Facebook after 1am, SMRT said a man was run over by a train near Kallang MRT station on the East-West Line towards Pasir Ris.

"At about 9pm, a train captain reported hitting an object near Kallang MRT station. Our station manager was sent on track and found a motionless man, about 150m from Kallang MRT station," it said.

A person was subsequently pronounced dead on the eastbound track near Kallang MRT station, it added.

[East-West Line Update at 6:05pm on 26 Feb]: On 25 Feb, a man was run over by a train near Kallang MRT station on the...

Posted by SMRT on Thursday, February 25, 2021

The operator suspended train services along the four-station stretch between Bugis and Aljunied in both directions, closed Lavender and Kallang stations and activated free regular bus and free bus bridging services.

It said it is assisting in police investigations.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it received a call for help at about 9.35pm. An SCDF paramedic pronounced a person dead at the scene.

Freelance worker Bessie Tan, 59, said she was on a train from town at around 9.30pm when passengers were told to disembark at Bugis.

"Then the train left empty," she said. "We boarded the next train which carried passengers, but it didn't leave Bugis and we were all told to leave the train again."

She added that at first, the announcement at the station "mumbled something like an incident at Lavender".

Police and SCDF personnel outside Kallang MRT station on Feb 25, 2021. PHOTO: The Straits Times

This is the first MRT track fatality since two SMRT trainees were knocked down by a train in March 2016.

But a more recent track death happened in March 2017 — but on the LRT system — when a drunken person was killed after going onto the tracks near Fajar station.

Mr Jordan Lim, a 20-year-old student, initially thought Thursday's incident was a regular train breakdown and wondered why the train lights were switched off.

"It didn't really make sense to me. Then I stopped and saw the flashlights in the front part of the carriage, so speculated that someone might have got knocked over."

Mr Song Ler Jun, 24, was running near Kallang MRT station with a friend and the flashing lights of the SCDF vehicles caught his attention.

He then stationed himself directly below the tracks, where he heard officers shouting "trauma bag".

The freelance writer added: "There was not much of a crowd. I talked to another couple who would have gotten on this train but had to take the shuttle bus instead.

"This is my first time experiencing something like that."

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said he received the "distressing news" on Thursday night.

"For those who were not aware, there was a time when there were occasional incidents of people going onto the tracks from station platforms," he wrote on Facebook.

"That is why we have the platform screen doors for above ground stations as well as underground ones now. Outside of the station, tracks are either on viaduct, underground or if at grade, fenced up."

This article was first published in The Straits Times.