Wednesday 18 October 2017

Seven killed and 50 injured as rush-hour tram derails

Members of the emergency services work next to the tram
in Croydon, south London, yesterday after it overturned, killing at least seven and leaving other passengers trapped. Photo: Reuters/Neil Hall.
Members of the emergency services work next to the tram in Croydon, south London, yesterday after it overturned, killing at least seven and leaving other passengers trapped. Photo: Reuters/Neil Hall.

Aine Fox and Sally Wardle

At least seven people were killed when a tram sped round a sharp bend and derailed during the morning rush-hour in London.

Investigators said the vehicle was travelling at a "significantly higher speed than is permitted", and are probing whether the driver, who has been arrested, may have fallen asleep.

The 42-year-old driver is being held on suspicion of manslaughter and is currently in police custody, British Transport Police said.

Scenes on board were described as "total carnage" and "like something out of a film" as the two-carriage tram tipped onto its side next to an underpass near the Sandilands stop in Croydon, south London.

The death toll was seven last night as more than 50 people were injured.

Dr Phil Moss, the clinical director of the emergency department at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south-east London, said three people were having surgery at the hospital.

A Sky News video grab of the scene
A Sky News video grab of the scene

He would not give any detail about the ages or injuries of any of the 20 people who were treated at the hospital after the incident.

Speaking yesterday, Dr Moss said: "This was a very serious incident and the injuries sustained were very serious. We know there have been some fatalities at the scene today.

"The patients who have gone to the operating theatre will certainly be kept in overnight if not for several days or even weeks."

Emergency medical teams at the hospital dealt with four "majorly injured" patients and 16 walking wounded, he added.

Dr Moss said: "Three of those patients are now in the operating theatre and one of the patients who was thought to be seriously injured has now fortunately been discharged. The remaining 16 patients are in the process of being discharged.

"We plan for events such as this evening though they are very rare - maybe once in every two years.

"This is clearly a traumatic event. We have psychologists working with us in the emergency department who will speak to patients prior to discharge.

"We also look to patients to follow up with their GPs."

A spokeswoman for London Ambulance Service confirmed that eight people had serious or life-threatening injuries.

Residents in the area described hearing a loud bang and seeing the injured being carried away on stretchers in the wake of the incident, which happened shortly after 6.10am yesterday.

London Fire Brigade sent eight appliances and more than 70 firefighters to the scene in Addiscombe Road to rescue people trapped in the two-carriage tram.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "We are now in the recovery stage of the operation. I pay tribute to the emergency services, particularly the fire brigade, British Transport Police and London Ambulance Service for their hard work throughout the day."

It is believed to be the first tram crash in Britain involving fatalities on board since 1959, when two women passengers and the driver died after a tram caught fire in Shettleston Road, Glasgow, following a collision with a lorry.

London's only tram network operates in the south of the capital, from Wimbledon to Beckenham Junction, Elmers End and New Addington, via Croydon.

More than 27 million passengers used the service in 2015/16. It uses a combination of on-street and segregated running for the 27km of track.

Irish Independent

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