MRT train rams barriers, hurts 34

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

MANILA (6th Update) –- A Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) train rammed through a concrete barrier at Edsa-Taft Avenue Station in Pasay City and rolled into a busy intersection on Wednesday, injuring at least 34 people and damaging two vehicles on the street.

Rescuers removed injured passengers from the train's front car after the accident in metropolitan Manila. At least 34 people were brought to hospitals with mostly minor injuries, Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.

Most of the injured were women as the front coach is reserved for women, pregnant women, elderly and children.

(Video by Al Padilla/Sunnex)

Hernando Cabrera, spokesperson of the MRT-3, said the train had a "technical problem" and was being pushed by another when it became detached and rolled into the concrete barrier at the final station on the line.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the derailed train initially stalled between the Magallanes and Taft stations.

"And, following railway SOPs (standard operating procedures), (it) had to be pushed by the next oncoming train. The two trains were coupled or linked together, but along the way, the coupling disconnected. This caused the derailed train to go past the Taft platform," he said in a text message.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths but Malacanang immediately ordered a probe into the train accident.

MRT train injured
Filipinos who were among those injured in a commuter train accident talks while inside the emergency room of the San Juan de Dios hospital in suburban Pasay, Philippines on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. A commuter train rammed through concrete and steel barriers and rolled into a busy intersection on Wednesday, injuring scores of passengers and damaging vehicles, officials said. (AP Photo)

Abaya said the drivers of the two trains will be investigated by the police and his department will create a separate investigating body.

In a text message, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the MRT management should always make sure the safety of the commuting public.

"Kailangang gawin ang nararapat para tiyakin ang kaligtasan ng mga pasahero at mga mamamayan, kasama na ang pagtunton sa dahilan kung bakit naganap ang paglampas ng bagon sa riles," he said.

Senior Superintendent Florencio Ortilla, who heads the Pasay city police, said the train toppled a concrete post and pushed a portion of the railway track out into the crowded intersection.

Many passengers were hurled toward the front of the train, police said.

Regina Santos said she and other passengers in the lead car had asked to be let off the train when it earlier stalled between two stations but the driver refused to open the doors.

Santos said that just before the train crashed the driver told the passengers to open the doors using the emergency levers and to brace themselves.

"I stood by the door just in case," Santos, who was uninjured, told The Associated Press. "I prayed to God to save us."

The often-packed train system runs on an elevated track along EDSA highway, the busiest thoroughfare in Manila, and then goes down to street level as it approaches the final station, where the accident happened. (ABC/AP/SDR/Sunnex)

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