NEWS

Croydon Tram Crash: First Victim Named Amid Probe Driver ‘Fell Asleep’

The tram was speeding when it derailed.

10/11/2016 09:10 | Updated 11 November 2016

 

  • 6 men and one woman confirmed dead

  • 51 people injured 

  • Tram driver released on police bail 

  • Tram was speeding through a sharp, left-hand curve when it derailed

UPDATE: Croydon Tram Driver Bailed As Second Crash Victim Is Identified As Loving Grandfather

The first victim of the Croydon tram crash which claimed seven lives, has been identified.

Avid Crystal Palace fan Dane Chinnery was named by friends who paid moving tribute to the 19-year-old.

Billie-Joe Ingrams told the Croydon Advertiser: “Dane was the highlight of our year group in high school, there was never a dull moment nor any anger or dispute to be had with him.

Facebook
Dane Chinnery has been named by friends as one of the Croydon tram crash victims 

“He was there for me through a lot and I loved him like a brother, I’ll never forget him and it is horrible to see such a great person go.”

It is believed the teenager was on his way to work at Hydro Cleansing Ltd, a Croydon flood response firm, when the accident happened. 

On Thursday it was confirmed Chinnery was one of six men and one woman who were killed in the accident.

A spokesman for British Transport Police (BTP) said: “We are working with the Coroner to identify these seven people and their families are being supported by specially-trained officers.” 

ASSOCIATED PRESS
The two-carriage tram derailed near the Sandilands stop in Croydon on Wednesday morning 
Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The driver of the tram has been questioned by police amid suggestions it failed to brake before taking a corner at speed. 

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

More than 50 people were injured when the tram left tracks and flipped on its side as it travelled through Croydon, south London, during the morning rush hour on Wednesday.

London mayor Sadiq Khan, who visited the scene on Wednesday, warned the death toll “may well increase”.

BTP said forensics teams are expected to stay at the crash site until Thursday evening at the earliest and identifying the dead may be a “complex and lengthy process”.

Catherine Wylie/PA Wire
Martin Bamford, 30, stands outside Croydon University Hospital where he is being treated for fractured or broken ribs
Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The crash is being investigated by the BTP and Rail Accident Investigation Branch 

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

Scenes in the wake of the crash were described as “total carnage” and “like something out of a film” after the two-carriage tram tipped over in heavy rain next to an underpass.

Survivors rescued from the wreckage said they recalled the tram failing to brake in its usual place at a bend on the track after speeding up. One said the driver told them he thought he had “blacked out”.

Royal Navy veteran Kevin Snow, 57, was on his way to work in central London when the busy service overturned.

Steve Parsons/PA Wire
London Mayor Sadiq Khan addresses the press at the scene of the crash 

The father-of-seven from Barnsley, south Yorkshire, said the service, which he had been using regularly while working in London, failed to slow down at its usual point coming out of a tunnel between the Lloyd Park and Sandilands stops.

He told the Press Association: “Usually as you come out the tunnel you feel the brakes, but I didn’t seem to at all. I thought, he should be braking in a minute.

“The next thing I knew we were on our side. Everyone was screaming and shouting, a lot of people were injured - lots couldn’t move.”

Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Investigators at the scene of the accident 

He said the tram slid for between eight and 10 seconds before coming to a halt.

Martin Bamford, 30, from Croydon, said he recalled the tram “speeding up”, adding: “Everyone just literally went flying.”

Speaking outside Croydon University Hospital, where he is being treated for fractured or broken ribs, he said people were screaming and there was “blood everywhere”, describing the scene as “like something out of a film”.

Asked what he had seen he added: “There was a woman that was on top of me ... I don’t think she made it at all. She wasn’t responsive. There was blood everywhere.”

Jack Taylor via Getty Images
A police officer stands by floral tributes left for the victims of the derailed tram 

Asked about the driver, he said: “I asked him if he was okay. He said ‘yeah’. I said to him ‘what happened?’ He said he thinks he blacked out.”

The 42-year-old man, from Beckenham, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and taken into custody for questioning. He was released on police bail until May on Thursday morning. 

The tragedy is being probed by BTP and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).

BTP assistant chief constable Robin Smith said they were investigating whether the driver of the Wimbledon-bound tram fell asleep at the wheel, alongside “a number of factors”.

Initial findings of the RAIB show that the tram came off the tracks as it was negotiating a “sharp, left-hand curve” with a speed limit of 12mph.

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

The Croydon derailment is the biggest loss of life on the British tram system since 1917, when a tram running down a hill in Dover killed 11.

Suggest a correction