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Driver arrested as seven die in Croydon tram crash

By Aine Fox

The driver of the tram that derailed killing at least seven people when travelling around a sharp bend yesterday morning in south London has been arrested by police.

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

Scenes on board have been 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.

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

One passenger, among more than 50 injured, recalled being trapped under a woman, adding: "I don't think she made it."

Martin Bamford (30), from Croydon, added that the driver told him he thought he had "blacked out".

London mayor Sadiq Khan, who visited the scene, warned that the death toll may rise.

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

British Transport Police Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith said officers were investigating whether the driver of the Wimbledon-bound tram fell asleep at the wheel, alongside "a number of factors".

He said officers would be "working through the night" at the accident scene, and staff would be present for a "number of days".

He said: "We have a very difficult and very challenging scene. We have carriages that are lying on their side - very heavy, 300 tonnes' worth - which will eventually have to be moved carefully, and at the same time, us being able to understand exactly what happened."

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

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

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