Seven are now confirmed dead as British Transport Police officers are continuing to work at the scene of the major tram crash in Croydon today.
The crash, which occurred just after 6am this morning, left 51 people injured.
A 42-year-old man from Beckenham has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and is currently in police custody.
Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said: “This is a tragic incident and our hearts and thoughts go out to all those affected.
“When officers arrived on scene this morning shortly after 6am, they were met with a complex and challenging situation.
“Together with our partners from the other emergency services and with support from London resilience agencies, they have worked through the day, and will continue to work throughout the night, at the scene.
“After liaison with the Coroner, we can confirm that at least seven people have lost their lives as a result of this incident.
“Our officers will continue to work tirelessly throughout the evening to formally identify them and provide care and support for their families.
“Identifying those who have died can be a complex and lengthy process and we want to ensure we get this right.
“We expect to be at the scene for at least the next 24 hours, continuing searches and carrying out forensic examinations in support of the investigation into the circumstances, and in order to provide a report for the Coroner.
“Tomorrow, we will assess how and when it is appropriate to recover the tram and remove it from the tracks.
“I want to thank everyone who assisted at the scene, and behind the scenes, in Croydon today.
“In the coming days, we will continue to work alongside the Rail Accident Investigation Branch to establish the circumstances of how this happened.”
Initial investigations by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch suggest that the tram approached the steep curve where it crashed above the 12mph speed limit.
An RAIB spokesperson said: “The derailment occurred on the curve and initial indications suggest that the tram was travelling at a significantly higher speed than is permitted.
“We are currently collecting evidence needed to identify factors relevant to the cause of the accident and its consequences.”
London Fire Brigade deputy assistant commissioner Andy Row said: “Firefighters worked tirelessly with colleagues from other emergency services to rescue a significant number of passengers.
“Sadly people have lost their lives this morning and our thoughts are with their friends and family.
“Fire crews undertook complex cutting and heavy lifting operations to free passengers and we’ll be using air bags to help lift the tram this evening.”
Earlier today London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was likely the death toll would rise.