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Croydon tram crash claimed lives of six men and one woman

Published 10/11/2016

The scene after a tram overturned in Croydon killing at least seven people
The scene after a tram overturned in Croydon killing at least seven people

Six men and one woman died in the tram crash in Croydon, south London, British Transport Police (BTP) said.

A force spokesman said officers were working with the coroner to identify the victims.

The tram driver, a 42-year-old man, from Beckenham, was released on bail after being arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

Investigators said the tram was travelling at a "significantly higher speed than is permitted" and are probing whether the driver had fallen asleep.

BTP officers and forensic investigators remain at the scene.

More than 50 people were injured when the vehicle left the track during the morning rush hour on Wednesday.

Three underwent surgery at St George's Hospital, Tooting on Wednesday. Some 17 other patients have since been discharged from the hospital.

Thirty-eight of t hose injured were treated at Croydon University Hospital. One remained in the hospital overnight but it was hoped they would be able to go home on Thursday.

Dane Chinnery, a 19-year-old Crystal Palace fan described as a "friendly, genuine lad", was among those killed.

Tom Dale, 20, was on the tram and said he recalled nodding over to his old school friend Mr Chinnery, who was already sitting on the tram when he boarded.

The pair, who went to Addington High School together and took part in performing arts, were on their way to work.

Mr Dale said that after the tram crashed he was looking for his friend, and asking, "Where's Dane? Where's Dane?", but all he could see was Mr Chinnery's boot where he had been sitting.

"It was like walking out of a war zone," the chef said.

Mr Dale, who was badly bruised, said of Mr Chinnery: "He was just a friendly, genuine lad, did no harm to nobody, really. No one deserves for this to happen to them."

Crystal Palace issued a statement on behalf of manager Alan Pardew, chairman Steve Parish, the players and club staff, offering their "sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives".

Social media users were encouraged to share a post calling for a minute of applause at the team's next home game on November 19.

The post said: "He was red and blue all the way through, and simply loved palace."

The tram was travelling from New Addington to Wimbledon via Croydon when the accident happened at 6.10am.

Scenes after the crash were described as "total carnage" after the two-carriage tram tipped over in heavy rain next to an underpass.

Survivors rescued from the wreckage said the tram failed to brake in its usual place at a bend on the track after speeding up. One said the driver told them he thought he had "blacked out".

Martin Bamford, 30, from Croydon, said he recalled the tram speeding up, adding: "Everyone just literally went flying."

Speaking outside Croydon University Hospital, where he was being treated for fractured or broken ribs, he said people were screaming and there was "blood everywhere", describing the scene as "like something out of a film".

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. There was blood everywhere."

Asked about the driver, he said: "I asked him if he was okay. He said 'yeah'. I said to him, 'what happened?'. He said he thinks he blacked out."

Mr Smith said officers were investigating "a number of factors".

London mayor Sadiq Khan, who visited the crash scene on Wednesday, warned the death toll could rise.

Saying that the Union flag had been flying at half-mast at City Hall, he added: "My team continues to work with Croydon Council to find the best way to provide immediate help and support for those most affected.

"Investigations into what caused this tragic incident continue, and it is vital that we learn the lessons as quickly as possible to prevent anything like this from happening again."

Initial findings of the Rail Accident Investigation Branch show the tram came off the tracks as it was negotiating a "sharp, left-hand curve" with a speed limit of 12mph.

A spokesman said: "Initial indications suggest that the tram was travelling at a significantly higher speed than is permitted."

Bernice Rooke, 66, has lived next to the tram tracks in Croydon for 15 years and said she has "never heard it so quiet" as on Thursday.

She said: "The first thing you notice is the stillness. Usually it's mayhem out here in the morning - buses, cars, trams, kids.

"Yesterday it was chaos, sirens everywhere, it seemed like there were hundreds at some points.

"I knew something was wrong when the noise stopped near my house. But today is different, like nothing else here before."

Dozens of floral tributes have been left near the scene by well-wishers.

One bouquet was left with a card that read: "To the families of all the lives lost. My deepest sympathy from a Croydon resident and my family. RIP. God Bless xxxx."

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