The driver of a tram which crashed, killing seven people, may have momentarily fallen asleep in the seconds before the accident.

The official report into the crash in Croydon, south London, confirms that the accident was caused by a driver failing to apply the brakes in time to negotiate a sharp bend.

It concludes that he may have lost awareness or had what is described as a “microsleep” because of fatigue.

The report also reveals that there was a similar speeding incident less than two weeks before the deadly crash.

Seven passengers died and 69 others were injured in the accident on 9 November 2016. Only one person aboard the tram was unhurt.

The tram should have slowed to 20km per hour to take a left turn into the Sandilands tram stop. Instead, it was travelling at 73km per hour – almost four times the speed limit.

As the tram overturned, survivors reported that they were tossed around like “being inside a washing machine”.

The dead and most seriously injured were thrown through shattered windows and were crushed under the tram as it skidded to a halt.

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The official report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) concluded that even though the driver had eight years’ experience, and had made the same journey around 700 times in the previous two years, he may have lost awareness because he had little to do in the minute immediately before the crash.

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