Seven people have died and a further fifty or so remain in hospital following the derailment of a tram in Croydon yesterday morning.
The tram driver, a man in his 40s from Beckenham, has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. According to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), the tram was travelling at a “significantly higher speed than is permitted”. British Transport Police have confirmed that they are investigating a number of factors, including whether the driver fell asleep.
Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said:
“We can confirm that at least seven people have lost their lives as a result of this incident.
“Our officers will continue to work tirelessly throughout the evening to formally identify them and provide care and support for their families.”
Yesterday’s crash is thought to be the first in the UK involving fatalities on board a tram since 1959.
The Commissioner of Transport for London, Mike Brown, said of the incident:
“Clearly something has gone catastrophically wrong and we will work tirelessly and quickly with the emergency services, the tram operator First Group and others to establish the cause.”
According to the RAIB that the tram was negotiating a “sharp, left-hand curve”, which has a speed limit of 12mph, when it derailed where the track branches. As of this morning, the tram remains on its side near an underpass just past Sandilane tram stop.
A 30 year old man from Croydon, Martin Bamford, was on the tram at the time of the incident and was taken to hospital with fractured ribs. According to Mr Bamford “everyone just literally went flying”, he went on to say that people were screaming and there was “blood everywhere”. He added:
“There was a woman that was on top of me … I don’t think she made it at all. She wasn’t responsive.”
Other witnesses have said that they saw people screaming and crying, with people trapped underneath the tram calling for help. One witness, Andy Smith, who was waiting at a nearby bus stop said he heard “what sounded like a screeching noise, then a bang”. He added:
“[I looked] down the track and I saw carnage. There was a lot of screaming, panicking and commotion. It was a macabre scene.”
More than 50 admitted to hospital
St George’s Hospital in Tooting confirmed it was treating 20 people, four of whom were seriously injured. Dr Phil Moss, clinical director at the hospital, said three were having surgery that could require a hospital stay of “several days or even weeks”.
Meanwhile, 31 patients arrived by ambulance and seven others on foot at Croydon University Hospital, according to the hospital’s medical director Dr Nnenna Osuji.
A book of condolences has opened at Croydon town hall. The police have also set up a number – 0800 0560154 – for friends and family to call for information.
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Source: BBC News