London

Croydon tram: Seven dead and 50 injured after derailment

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Media captionThe tram derailed shortly after 06:00 GMT near the Sandilands stop

Seven people have died and dozens more have been injured after a tram overturned in London.

People were trapped inside and more than 50 were taken to hospital after the derailment in Croydon just after 06:00 GMT.

The tram driver, 42, from Beckenham, has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

British Transport Police said they were investigating whether he fell asleep.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the tram was travelling at a "significantly higher speed than is permitted".

The police have set up a number - 0800 0560154 - for friends and family to call for information.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Firefighters worked to free people who were trapped in the tram

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."

Live updates on Croydon tram crash

London Ambulance Service said eight people have serious or life-threatening injuries, while a total of 51 had been taken to two hospitals.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption British Transport Police has arrested the driver

Robin Smith, Assistant Chief Constable of the British Transport Police, said they were investigating whether the driver fell asleep, alongside "a number of factors".

The RAIB said the Wimbledon-bound tram derailed as it was negotiating a "sharp, left-hand curve" which has a speed limit of 12 mph.

Trams are not fitted with any safety protection systems that apply the brakes automatically if they are going too fast, according to the Office of Rail and Road.

The overturned tram remains on its side next to an underpass and appears to have derailed where the track branches.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Scores of emergency services staff are attending the incident

Martin Bamford, 30, from Croydon, was on the tram.

He said "everyone just literally went flying", adding that people were screaming and there was "blood everywhere".

Speaking outside Croydon University Hospital, where he is being treated for fractured or broken ribs, Mr Bamford said: "There was a woman that was on top of me ... I don't think she made it at all. She wasn't responsive. "

Image copyright PA
Image caption Martin Bamford, who was on the tram, said it was "like something out of a film"

Kevin Snow, who was travelling to work on the tram, said he noticed it did not seem to slow down at the bend and "the next thing I knew we were on our side".

The carpet fitter, who suffered a badly bruised shoulder, said the carriages slid for eight to ten seconds before coming to a halt.

Kudirat Okesola said her husband was travelling on the tram and suffered a "massive" cut on his face.

She said some people trapped underneath the tram were calling for help.

"People were screaming. People were crying," she said.

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Media captionCourtesy of Hannah Collier and Peter Allan-Jones

Andy Smith said he was waiting at a nearby bus stop when he heard "what sounded like a screeching noise, then a bang".

He said: "[I looked] down the track and I saw carnage. There was a lot of screaming, panicking and commotion. It was a macabre scene."

Image copyright Peter Allan Jones
Image caption The incident happened just after 06:00 GMT

Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell said his friend was on the tram.

"He's been injured, he's in hospital, he's going to be ok. But it's been a very shocking day for the whole community here.

"Thousands of people use these every day to get to work, to get to school and they're one of the best things about Croydon; we've got this fantastic modern environmentally-friendly transport system and it's had a great safety record.

"This has come as a great shock."

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Image caption More than 50 people were taken to hospital for treatment

St George's Hospital in Tooting said it was treating 20 people, four of whom were seriously injured and 16 who were walking wounded.

Clinical director Dr Phil Moss said three were having surgery and could be kept in for "several days or even weeks".

Croydon University Hospital's medical director Dr Nnenna Osuji said 31 patients were brought in by ambulance, while seven others arrived on foot.

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Media captionEmilia Papadopoulos has been speaking to people about the derailment

Police set up a cordon around the crash site while investigations continue.

Mike Brown, commissioner of Transport for London, said: "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."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sadiq Khan visited the site of the derailment

The crash is believed to be the first in the UK involving fatalities on board a tram since 1959.

On that occasion two women passengers and the driver died after a tram caught fire in Shettleston Road, Glasgow, following a collision with a lorry.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A cordon has been set up around the crash site

Prime Minister Theresa May offered her thoughts and prayers for the Croydon victims, while London mayor Sadiq Khan visited the crash site.

A book of condolence has opened at Croydon Town Hall.

Image copyright Sarah Beth
Image caption TfL advised that no tram services are expected to run in the area for the rest of the day

At the scene: BBC London's transport correspondent Tom Edwards

It's a very sombre mood in this area.

What struck me is trams, in particular, are very tightly knit to their communities. Everyone uses them so this has hit this community very, very hard.

I saw a lady walking down the street making a sign of the cross.

This is a very dark day for London transport.


Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The tram derailed near an underpass

Croydon Tramlink

  • London's only tram network operates from Wimbledon to Beckenham Junction, Elmers End and New Addington, via Croydon
  • It is run by Tram Operations Limited, a subsidiary of First Group
  • Transport for London is responsible for tram frequency, overall performance, maintenance and improvement work
  • The network began operation in May 2000 as Croydon Tramlink, becoming the first tram system in London since 1952
  • More than 27 million passengers used the service in 2015/16
  • The 17 miles (28km) network consists of 39 stops
  • Until 1951, trams in Croydon ran along the A23 before they were shut down to make space for more road traffic

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