A tram derailment in Croydon has resulted in at least seven deaths, according to the British Transport Police.
The accident happened near the Sandilands tram stop on Addiscombe Road in Croydon, at 6.10am. Two carriages derailed and it is understood that these are currently on their side.
In a statement, the British Transport Police revealed that there has been seven fatalities so far, while more than 50 people have been taken to hospital with injuries.
“When officers arrived on scene this morning shortly after 6am, they were met with a complex and challenging situation,” said deputy chief constable Adrian Hanstock.
“Together with our partners from the other emergency services and with support from London resilience agencies, they have worked through the day, and will continue to work throughout the night, at the scene.
“After liaison with the coroner, we can confirm that at least seven people have lost their lives as a result of this incident.”
Hanstock added: “We expect to be at the scene for at least the next 24 hours, continuing searches and carrying out forensic examinations in support of the investigation into the circumstances, and in order to provide a report for the coroner.
“Tomorrow, we will assess how and when it is appropriate to recover the tram and remove it from the tracks.”
The British Transport Police also confirmed that one person has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and is currently in police custody.
The Rail Accident Investigation Bureau (RAIB) has now opened an investigation into the accident. In a statement, the RAIB said that initial findings indicated that the tram had broken the speed limit before the derailment occurred.
“Trams approaching from the New Addington direction have to negotiate a sharp, left-hand curve with a speed limit of 20km/h (12mph) before reaching the junction. The derailment occurred on the curve and initial indications suggest that the tram was travelling at a significantly higher speed than is permitted,” said the RAIB statement.
“We are currently collecting evidence needed to identify factors relevant to the cause of the accident and its consequences.”
London Fire Brigade has eight fire engines and four fire and rescue units, which contain specialist rescue equipment, at the scene.
Met Police officers are also at the scene.
The Croydon Tramlink is operated by FirstGroup on behalf of Transport for London.
“I am saddened by the events of this morning and our thoughts are with those who have lost their lives, suffered injuries, or have been otherwise affected by this tragic incident,” said FirstGroup chief executive officer Tim O’Toole.
“Our primary concern is for our passengers, employees and all those involved. Colleagues from our Tram Operations team and from across our group are making every effort to help and support those affected and their families.
“We are working closely with our colleagues in the emergency services and Transport for London and will continue to assist them during the investigation into what happened. I would like to thank them for the work they are doing today in very difficult circumstances.”