SCMP Monday, September 3, 2001


400 flee ordeal on smoke-filled MTR train

SUSAN SCHWARTZ and FELIX CHAN

Four hundred MTR commuters were stuck in a smoke-filled train for 20 minutes yesterday before walking 500 metres down the tracks to the next station after a lightning strike caused a power failure.
Passengers feared a fire had broken out after the 6.28am lightning strike on exposed overhead cables left the train stranded in the cross-harbour tunnel between Quarry Bay and Lam Tin.
Service between Kwun Tong and Quarry Bay was suspended until 7.55am.
A passenger said: "The whole train was filled with smoke which was pouring in and people had to cover their noses and were running to the sides to escape from it."
The smoke was thought to have come from the damaged cable.
The train's emergency door remained closed until engineers arrived at 6.50am.
One female passenger said those on board feared a fire had started and one man became so agitated he forced his way into the driver's compartment and had to be restrained by fellow passengers. She said when the emergency door opened there was a "mad rush" to escape.
The commuters took about 10 minutes to walk down the dimly lit tunnel to Lam Tin station.
The MTRC released a statement apologising for the incident, which is under investigation. No one is believed to have been hurt.