21 injured as Luas and bus crash in city centre


THREE INVESTIGATIONS are under way following a collision between a double-decker bus and a Luas tram in Dublin city centre yesterday.

At least 21 people were injured, three seriously, in the crash which occurred on O’Connell Street in the afternoon. The Luas driver and two bus passengers are understood to have been seriously injured in the incident.

A total of 21 people attended the Mater hospital and two of them were in a serious condition last night. Three people were brought to Beaumont Hospital where they were treated for shock, while a further patient was transferred to the hospital from the Mater with serious head injuries yesterday evening. A further two people were treated at St James’s Hospital.

The incident, which involved a Luas Red Line tram and a No 16 bus, occurred at the junction of O’Connell Street and Abbey Street just before 3pm yesterday. The Luas was derailed.

The crash occurred when the tram, which was travelling towards Connolly Station, collided with the bus, travelling northwards to Santry at the time.

Separate investigations into the incident are being carried out by gardaí, Dublin Bus and Veolia, the company that operates the Luas.

A number of people who had been left trapped on the bus had to be cut free from the wreckage by members of Dublin City Fire Brigade.

An early eyewitness on the scene, Michael Hannan, was on his way to work when he heard an “almighty bang” behind him. He got on board the bus, where he described the scene as “ultimate carnage”.

He described two female bus passengers who had been pinned down by the Luas after it hit the side of the bus.

“It was quite horrific. They were covered in blood and glass . . . it was a matter of keeping them conscious until emergency services arrived.” Mr Hannan said that the women had remained trapped on the bus for up to 45 minutes before the fire brigade were able to cut them from the vehicle.

Paramedics treated a number of people at the scene and the 21 injured people were brought by ambulance and by minivan ambulance to hospital, according to a HSE spokesperson.

A spokeswoman for Veolia confirmed that an investigation was under way, but said it was too early to give more precise details into the circumstances surrounding the collision. She added that the company’s safety record was “excellent”, adding that “safety is our number one priority”.

Fine Gael Seanad transport spokesman Senator Paschal Donohoe said it was important that any investigation into the incident be published.

“The public must have complete confidence in the safety of both the Luas and bus and this must be restored with a thorough investigation. Both forms of public transport are experiencing falling passenger numbers and any question marks over their safety must be urgently dealt with in a public investigation,” he said.

A spokesperson for Veolia said that updates on Luas services would be available on www.luas.ie or by contacting Freephone 1800 300604.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Dublin Bus said she expected all services would resume as normal tomorrow.

Since the Luas light rail tram system was introduced  in 2004, there have been 13 minor road traffic incidents, 12 incidents which involved “minor contact” with pedestrians and two derailments, one of which occurred as a result of yesterday’s collision. To date, Luas trams have covered 1.8 million km on both the red and green lines.

Luas trams make a total of 1,987 journeys on the red line each week, and 2,182 are taken on the green line.