Police: 5 killed in London early morning tram derailment

Emergency service workers attend the scene of a derailed tram in Croydon, south London, Wednesday Nov. 9, 2016. A tram derailed in London before dawn on Wednesday, leaving at least 50 people injured and several trapped, the emergency services said. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP)
Emergency service workers attend the scene of a derailed tram in Croydon, south London, Wednesday Nov. 9, 2016. A tram derailed in London before dawn on Wednesday, leaving at least 50 people injured and several trapped, the emergency services said. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP)

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

Emergency workers were still at the scene of the derailment in Croydon more than six hours after the crash, trying to free two people trapped in the wreckage of the two-carriage tram that tipped on its side next to an underpass. It 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,” and more than 50 others were taken to local hospitals with injuries, police said.

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

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

London’s fire department said eight fire engines and four specialist rescue units were at the scene. 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.

Emergency services called to the Sandilands tram stop at around 6:10 a.m. (0610 GMT, 1:10 a.m. EST).

“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.”

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

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.

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