Coach plunges into Liffey

 

A driver had a dramatic escape last night when a single-decker Bus Eireann bus plunged into the Liffey after colliding with a privately-owned bus.

He was later rescued by Dublin Fire Brigade, five units of which were called to the scene, and taken to the Mater Hospital. He had been in the water for some time. Early this morning, his condition was said to be "stable".

Many of the windows in the private bus were shattered and the four people on board - the driver and three passengers - were taken to St James's Hospital to be treated for minor cuts and bruises.

Garda sources said that had both buses been full with passengers there could have been a catastrophe. A short time before the collision, several passengers had left the private bus.

The accident happened at about 9.30 p.m. when the Bus Eireann vehicle collided with a vehicle owned by Kavanaghs, of Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, as it approached Butt Bridge from Tara Street.

Emergency services were on the scene within 15 minutes. The driver of the Bus Eireann bus was winched to safety by a halter and extended crane. The crane, from a plant hire company in Tallaght, had been rushed to the scene with a Garda escort.

A large crowd of onlookers quickly gathered and gardai cordoned off Butt Bridge and part of Burgh Quay. There was traffic congestion for a time in the area.

A Garda helicopter assisted in the rescue by hovering overhead and helping to light the scene.