A cyclist has died after being hit by a lorry in Croydon this afternoon.

The crash happened in St James's Road, on a railway bridge near the junction with Gloucester Road, at about 1.30pm.

The victim, a woman aged in her 20s, was pronounced dead at the scene, a spokesman for the London Ambulance Service said.

Police erected a forensics tent at the scene of the crash and said St James's Road would be closed "for several hours".

Witnesses described paramedics fighting the save the cyclist's life.

UPDATE: Lorry driver arrested after cyclist, 25, killed in collision

Rachel Goff, a director at Sth London Services in nearby Lambert's Place, said: "I had been downstairs to make a cup of coffee so I didn't see the accident but I saw it seconds after it happened.

"To be honest she already looked dead. 

"The lorry was parked on the footpath but when paramedics arrived he drove off.

"It seemed like it took forever for [police and paramedics] to turn up and they worked on her for a while.

"They did CPR and they got the defibrillator out."

She added: "It looked like she had been dragged. Her clothes were torn."

Mrs Goff's husband put barriers up to keep traffic away from the scene, while others put blankets over the victim.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed the cyclist who died was a woman in her 20s, adding: "Enquires continue to establish the next of kin."

It is understood the lorry involved in the collision was delivering copper pipes to a nearby builders' merchant and did not stop at the scene.

Witnesses later recognised the lorry and notified police, according to an employee at Harris and Bailey Ltd in Hastings Road.

The staff member, who asked not to be named said: "I saw the air ambulance and thought, 'What's going on here?' And a little while later the police had blocked off our road.

"When we left at 5pm the lorry was left at the bottom of Warren Road, which is is the exit road from our company, and forensics were there examining the vehicle.

"The police officer said the lorry driver was unaware of what he had done. 

He added: "It is quite shocking to hear that a lorry that had just delivered to our place had done it.

"It is a big articulated lorry with a trailer. It is an 18-tonne vehicle when empty and it was delivering copper tubes."

Mark Lovett, who works in The Windmill pub nearby, said he had seen "a body still lying in the road" following the collision.

He said no one in the pub had seen the crash and were unaware something had happened until the emergency services arrived.

He added: “I came down off my break and it was police central.

"There’s a bike propped up [near the] body."

Reign Bowers, 27, who lives in Lambert's Place, said she thought St James's Road was dangerous.

She said: "I have been here nine years and this must be the eighth accident I've seen.

"It is supposed to be a 30 zone but cars come bombing up here, especially at rush hour.

"It's ridiculous, it's so dangerous.

"That is why I am all for it being a 20mph zone."

A woman who lives in nearby Milton Road said she arrived at 3.30pm to find "everything was already at a standstill".

She added: "The lorry had carried on from what I heard, so the lorry and cars I saw weren't involved, from what I've been told.

"It is really quiet. I've never known it be this quiet down here."

A staff member at Allcorn Chemist, near to the scene of the collision, said: “There’s a lot of police around and ambulances.

"It does look very serious, and they have closed off pretty much all the surrounding roads.”

Police constable Milo Horvath, a ward officer for Selhurst, tweeted: "Following a serious RTC, parts of St James's Road, Selhurst, have been closed.

"Please reroute to avoid delays."

Did you see what happened? Call the newsdesk on 020 8722 6351 or email chris.baynes@newsquest.co.uk