LONDON (AP) – Five people were killed and more than 50 injured when a tram derailed in south London during an early morning rainstorm 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 bend.
British Transport Police said they had arrested a man – reportedly the tram’s driver – and rail accident investigators were probing the cause of the derailment.
The force said that “five people have sadly died following this incident,” and more than 50 others were taken to local hospitals with injuries.
Liam Lehane of the London Ambulance Service described many of those hurt as “walking wounded” but said others suffered serious injuries.
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.”
Fire Brigade station manager Joe Kenny said “firefighters have released a number of people and two people remain trapped.”
The British capital’s only tram network operates in the southern end of the city, serving 27 million passengers in the last year.