Firefighters and staff are seen at the accident site where a train derailed in Hong Kong, south China, Sept. 17, 2019. A train carrying hundreds of passengers derailed in Hong Kong's Kowloon during the rush hour on Tuesday morning, injuring at least eight people onboard. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)
HONG KONG, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- A train carrying hundreds of passengers derailed in Hong Kong's Kowloon during the rush hour on Tuesday morning, injuring at least eight people onboard.
Of those injured, five passengers, including one male and four females, needed to be taken to the hospital for treatment and were "in conscious condition," said Cheung Kwong-yuen, a senior officer of the Fire Service Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government.
Their injuries were mostly on the necks and shoulders, according to local firefighters.
The accident occurred at around 8:30 a.m. local time when the train of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR)'s East Rail Link pulled in the Hung Hom MTR station.
A passenger who gave his surname as Kwok remembered hearing noises shortly before the accident, while the train was swaying before ultimately derailed. He was sitting in the train when the accident happened, and had his head bumped on the handle in the front.
Another man who identified himself as Chung said he felt a strong force of braking. "We (passengers) looked at each other, with no idea as what happened," he said.
Video footage from the scene showed passengers lowering themselves onto the tracks after the accident. Witnesses said that the train was seriously damaged, breaking in two and some doors fell off due to the derailment.
Fire fighters helped with the evacuation of about 400 passengers to safety, Cheung said.
"This is a very grave train accident in Hong Kong," Alfred Sit Wing Hang, Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services, told a press conference after arriving at the scene for investigation.
The scene was cordoned off for a thorough investigation. The cause of the accident is unknown.
When asked whether it's a deliberate sabotage or mechanical problem, Sit said the authorities won't rule out any possibility.
"We will carry out an independent, thorough and in-depth investigation," he said, adding it will take about three to six months for the department to complete the investigation and submit a report.
A passenger surnamed Yeung said that the train ran into "something solid," and he saw smokes from the train after it was broken.
Preliminary investigation showed a crack was found on the track, according to the fire service department.
The MTR Corporation, which operates Hong Kong's rail networks, apologized for the accident, saying its staff were helping the passengers leave the scene, and the reason for the accident is being investigated.