UK investigators: Tram operator lost awareness before 2016 crash

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LONDON — A newly released video shows that sleep was a factor in a London tram derailment that killed seven people.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch, the body responsible for finding the cause of rail incidents in the United Kingdom, released an animated video to explain the cause of the 2016 incident. The video shows that after the tram emerged from a series of tunnels, it entered a tight left-hand curve at 78 kph, far exceeding the posted 20 kph speed limit. The tram tipped onto its right side and skidded onto a different set of tracks.

Investigators concluded that the driver may have lost control of the vehicle due to a "microsleep."

"Although it is possible that the driver was fatigued due to insufficient sleep," Business Insider quoted from the report. "There is no evidence that this was the result of the shift pattern that he was required to work."

In addition to the seven people killed, 62 people were injured in the accident, 19 of them seriously.

The report called the incident the worst accident to happen on British tramways in more than 90 years, and recommended several new safety measures in response to the crash.

Officials are considering whether to charge the operator with manslaughter.

See the original article online.
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