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Tram driver suspended after 'asleep at controls' footage emerges on fatal line

Published 19/11/2016

The scene after a tram overturned in Croydon, south London
The scene after a tram overturned in Croydon, south London

A tram driver has been suspended after footage appeared to show him asleep at the controls on the same line as the Croydon crash that killed seven people.

An investigation was launched after a concerned passenger filmed the 32-second clip as the driver struggled to stay upright around three miles from the derailment in Croydon, south London, The Sun reported.

The footage was recorded between the Coombe Lane and Gravel Hill stations shortly after 6pm on April 21, the newspaper said.

A spokesman for rail company FirstGroup said: "The driver involved in the video has been removed from duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

"He will now be subject to a full investigation so it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage."

Earlier Crystal Palace and Manchester City fans fell silent before kick off at Selhurst Park as they paid tribute to the victims of the crash.

Both sides and their supporters observed a minute's silence in honour of the six men and one woman who were killed in the tragedy on November 9.

Two of the victims - named as 19-year-old Dane Chinnery and Philip Seary, 57 were fans of the Eagles.

In a statement on its website, Crystal Palace said: "Many members of the Croydon and wider community have been affected by this accident and as a club we stand together with the community at this very difficult time.

"This is the second occasion in recent weeks where fans of Crystal Palace have been lost in tragic accidents so the minute's silence will also be in memory of Harry Davies who passed away last month."

After the tribute the club tweeted: "Impeccably observed minute's silence by both sets of fans and players in memory of the victims of the Croydon tram crash."

The others killed were Philip Logan, 52, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, and Robert Huxley, 63, all from New Addington, and Mark Smith, 35, and Donald Collett, 62, both from Croydon.

Investigators said the derailed tram was travelling at three-and-a-half times the speed limit when it crashed near Sandilands station on Wednesday morning last week.

The tram's driver, Alfred Dorris, 42, from Beckenham, south-east London, was arrested at the scene and questioned on suspicion of manslaughter before being bailed until May.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the tram, which was carrying about 60 people, was doing 43.5mph in a 12mph zone.

In its interim report, it said there was no evidence of any track defects or obstructions on the track, and the investigation also found no malfunction of the braking system.

Engineers have repaired the track and other equipment and have run trams over the repaired section.

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