Croydon tram crash: Sadiq Khan joins mourners for vigil to mark first anniversary of disaster

Sadiq Khan joined tearful mourners at a vigil to remember the victims of the Croydon tram crash a year after seven people were killed in the tragedy.

Victim’s relatives, emergency crews and officials laid floral tributes following an emotional service marking the first anniversary of the crash.

Some 51 people were injured when a speeding tram derailed at a sharp junction outside Sandilands station last November.

Philip Logan, 52, Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, Robert Huxley, 63, Mark Smith, 35, and Donald Collett, 62, all died in the disaster which occurred at 6.07am. 

Emotional speech: The Mayor of London speaks at the vigil (Mayor of London)

Passengers were “ejected or partially ejected” through shattered windows as the tram overturned and slid 25 metres, having been travelling at 46 miles per hour on a bend which had a 13 miles per hour speed limit.

A private service was held for victims and family members at a newly unveiled memorial at Sandilands today.

A public ceremony was held at a second newly created site in Central Parade, New Addington. 

The Mayor of London, Croydon Council leader Tony Newman, emergency service leaders and relatives of those killed made moving speeches ahead of a one minute silence.

Mr Khan said: “Our public transport system should be a place where people are always safe.

“I’ve demanded reassurances from Transport for London and First Group that changes have been made to the network, and I’ll ensure that lessons are learnt and acted upon.

“We owe this to the victims, the families and to all Londoners.”

Consultant Paramedic Paul Gates, who managed the ambulance service’s response on the day, said: “Our thoughts remain with everyone affected by this tragic incident and the wider community in Croydon.”

Sergeant Chris Morbey from the British Transport Police struggled to hold back tears during a speech.

The granddaughter of victim Philip Logan, who died in the crash, ran to comfort him, the Croydon Advertiser reported.

Emergency services took to Twitter to send messages of support to those affected by the crash.

The London Fire Brigade wrote: “Our thoughts are with the victims of the #Croydon Tram Crash & their friends & family on the first anniversary. Firefighters who worked so hard to rescue as many commuters as possible will attend a memorial service today.

The London Ambulance Service added: “Today we’ll be standing with the #Croydon community to remember the seven people who died and over 50 people who were injured in last year’s tram crash.”

Devastated survivors today told the Standard that lessons must be learned to prevent another disaster.

Matthew Parnell, 44, lost his HGV licence and his job after suffering a brain injury in the crash.

Seven people died and 51 were injured when the speeding tram derailed (PA)

He said: “The anniversary is a difficult time as it is a reminder of the cause of loss to so many people, for my own part the accident has changed my life.”

An interim report by the Rail Accident Investigation Bureau (RAIB) said the late application of the brakes, and the absence of emergency braking, suggested the driver, 43-year-old Alfred Dorris, from Beckenham, had “lost awareness”.

Read more

Dorris was arrested at the scene and questioned on suspicion of manslaughter. 

He was questioned again by police two months ago and released “under investigation” as officers prepare a report for the Crown Prosecution Service.

Since the crash, four drivers have admitted to falling asleep while operating trams at the same location. 

Following the interim RAIB report, TfL installed devices in tram cabs that monitors drivers’ eyes for distraction or fatigue and alerts them with a noise and vibration if they appear to be falling asleep.

Source :