Police: 5 killed in London early morning tram derailment

tram

LONDON (AP) — Five people were killed and more than 50 injured when a tram derailed in south London during a heavy rainstorm before dawn Wednesday, police said.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, visiting the scene, said the number of dead “may well increase.”

“A number of those who are at hospital are in a serious condition,” Khan said.

Emergency workers worked for hours to free five people trapped in the wreckage of the two-carriage tram that tipped on its side next to an underpass in the Croydon area.

The tram appeared to have come off the rails on a sharp bend.

British Transport Police said they had arrested a man — reportedly the tram’s driver — and rail accident investigators were working to determine the cause.

“Five people have sadly died following this incident,” police said.

Liam Lehane of the London Ambulance Service described many of the people hurt as “walking wounded” but said others suffered serious injuries.

The British capital’s only tram network operates in the southern end of the city, serving 27 million passengers in the last year.

London’s fire department said eight fire engines and four specialist rescue units were among the first responders to the Sandilands tram stop after the 6:10 a.m. (0610 GMT, 1:10 a.m. EST) accident.

The rescue units, which are used in complex incidents, are equipped with heavy lifting and cutting tools, together with longer duration breathing apparatus and floodlighting.

“I heard a massive crash at about 6.15 a.m., then heard shouting, then the emergency services arrived,” said resident Hannah Collier, 23. “They started bringing up the casualties, some very seriously injured.”

Trams were largely phased out in British cities decades ago, but have made a comeback in recent years. Wednesday’s derailment is the first tram accident with onboard fatalities since the 1950s.

Prime Minister Theresa May and London mayor Khan sent condolences to the injured and the families of the dead.

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