Luas Crash - Eyewitness Reports

Thu, Sep 17, 2009, 01:00

Hundreds of people pressed against Garda barriers at the junction of O'Connell Street and Middle Abbey Street in Dublin to gape at the wreckage of the Luas and double-decker bus which collided yesterday afternoon.

The Luas appeared to be the most damaged of the vehicles. Its front carriage had left the rails and was badly buckled, while its driver's cabin was crushed flat against the bus.

The bus was banked hard against the curb of the central reservation. Most of its windows remained intact, apart from the middle section on the left hand side where the Luas was tightly wedged.

Rita Cahill from Ballymun said she had been walking on the west side of O'Connell Street towards the junction of Henry Street when she saw the crash. "I was outside Funland when I saw the bus taking a big swerve to the right and I heard a bang. The bus was trying to avoid the Luas."

A Dublin Bus driver, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's really hard to believe that it happened, because the Luas was stopped. And then it started again and hit the bus, and they had to cut out passengers because it hit so hard."

Alan Hunter, a local businessman, had been smoking outside Clerys when the crash happened. He said he did not see the impact, but had seen several pedestrians crossing in front of the bus just before the crash.

"What seemed to happen was that the bus had to brake in the middle of the junction because there were pedestrians running out in front of him. That happens all the time, particularly on O'Connell Street. Members of the public won't wait for the lights to cross, and just walk out. It was a tragedy waiting to happen."

Another man who didn't wish to be named said the bus had been stopped at a red light before the Luas junction, but moved forward into the junction to allow a Garda car to pass.

Gardaí said they could not confirm any of these reports because the matter was still under investigation. But they were anxious to interview any witnesses to the incident.

"I just heard a really loud bang," said Sinéad Aungier from Malahide. She was in Supermac's on the junction of O'Connell Street and Abbey Street when the incident occurred. "People were getting out the back of the Luas. There was a woman treated on a stretcher on the street."