‘Biggest tragedy in our community in living memory’: Six men and one woman dead after Croydon tram crash

As the first victim is named tributes continue to pour in for those affected by the Croydon tram crash that rocked the borough on Wednesday.

Six men and one woman died after a tram came off the tracks in Croydon at around 6am Wednesday, November 9.

An investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch has revealed that the tram approached a steep curve en route to Sandilands Tram Stop in Addiscombe Road travelling at a significantly higher speed than is permitted.

The driver, a 42-year-old man from Beckenham, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon.

On the day, 20 victims were taken to St George’s University Hospital in Tooting and 31 to Croydon University Hospital.

A British Transport Police spokesperson said: “We can confirm that six men and one woman have sadly died.

“We are working with the coroner to identify these seven people and their families are being supported by specially trained officers.”

One victim of the crash has been named as 19-year-old Dane Chinnery, who was described as ‘a beautiful lad’.

Tributes have poured in for the Crystal Palace fan, as well as the others who died and were in injured when the tram derailed.

Crystal Palace football club released this statement yesterday: “Everyone at Crystal Palace Football Club was shocked and saddened to hear about the tragic tram accident on Wednesday morning.

“The chairman, manager, players and staff would like to offer their sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.

“Whilst information is still being clarified, we understand that at least one of the victims, 19 year-old Dane Chinnery, was a Palace fan.

“Our prayers are with his family and with all the friends and relatives of those victims that have been affected.

“The club wishes a full and speedy recovery to the many people who suffered injuries.

“This was a terrible event in the heart of Croydon and we stand with the community at this difficult time.”

Steve O’Connell, London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton, said:  “The whole of Croydon is in mourning as we try to come to terms with the single biggest tragedy in our community in living memory.

“Having visited the scene of the crash, I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to the emergency services for the work they carried out under what must have been harrowingly difficult circumstances.

“As the names of the victims begin to emerge, it is so important that our community comes together and supports the friends, families and loved ones of all those affected.

“In time I will be doing all I can to ensure this incident is fully investigated and that we rightly get answers over how this appalling tragedy unfolded.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Croydon Town Hall lowered their flags to half mast to pay their respects to those who lost their lives and were were injured.

There is also a book of condolences to sign in the town hall.

Croydon Council leader Tony Newman said: “My thoughts and sympathies remain with everyone affected by yesterday’s tram incident.

“I would like to thank emergency for their tireless efforts.

“I would also like to thank the staff at Croydon University Hospital and St George’s Hospital for the help and ongoing treatment and support they are providing to those injured.

“I’m grateful to St Mildred’s Church and the Red Cross for the support they gave at the reception centres set up for the family and friends of those affected by this horrific event.

“I visited the scene on Wednesday afternoon and while there heard of numerous acts of kindness from residents and nearby businesses.

“These included allowing emergency service personnel to use their bathrooms and providing cups of tea, coffee, sandwiches and cakes to those working at the site, for which I thank you.

“I am immensely proud but not surprised to hear how those along the affected tram route and the wider Croydon community have come together in the face of tragedy to support family, friends, neighbours and even those they don’t know.

“At 11am today we will stop to remember the sacrifices made by military and service personnel in conflict, but we will also take this opportunity to hold an additional minute’s silence to remember those who sadly lost their lives in Wednesday’s accident.

“I’d encourage anyone wishing to pay respect to those affected the tragedy to join us at the cenotaph on Katharine Street for the Service of Remembrance and wreath laying tomorrow at 11am.”

Today there will be a small ceremony  at the cenotaph in Katharine Street where an extra minute silence will be held to remember those who died in the incident this week — Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Wayne Trakas-Lawlor, will be in attendance.

Councillor Newman continued: “As a community, Croydon is still in shock and mourning following Wednesday’s tragic events.

“I’d like to thank those at the welfare centre who are working to support the borough, and in particular the New Addington Community.

“I’d urge anyone affected by this awful incident that requires support or even just a listening ear to visit the welfare centre in New Addington, which may provide help and comfort at this difficult time.”

Two passengers were stuck in the tram for more than ten hours on Wednesday and a temporary mortuary was set up.

On Thursday, November 10 St George’s hospital released this statement: “Yesterday (November 9), three patients seriously injured in the tram incident in Croydon underwent surgery at St George’s.

“All three patients left theatre yesterday, and are continuing to be looked after by our surgical and medical teams.

“We are not planning to issue any further updates about their condition for the time being.

“We would like to thank members of the public for their kind wishes, and for the support they have shown to the patients and staff at St George’s.

“We would also like to say thank you again to the various emergency services and agencies involved in managing yesterday’s incident.”

London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, said: “My thoughts, and those of everyone at London Fire Brigade, are with everybody affected by this tragic incident.

“Firefighters worked tirelessly to help the injured and rescue those who were trapped.”

The brigade was called at 06:11 and the first fire engine was on the scene within six minutes of being called.

Firefighters remained at the scene until around 9pm helping with the recovery operation.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Andy Row, said: “Firefighters worked incredibly hard with colleagues from other emergency services to rescue a significant number of passengers.

“Sadly people have lost their lives and our thoughts are with their friends and family.

“Fire crews undertook complex cutting and heavy lifting operations to free passengers and used air bags to help lift the tram.”

Tributes have poured in from across the city for those affected by the fatal crash.

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