Derry bus driver 'ordered to transport bomb'

Two men boarded told the driver to take the device to Strand Road police station

Two men boarded the bus close to the Ballymagroarty estate in Derry last night and told the driver to take the device to Strand Road police station. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Two men boarded the bus close to the Ballymagroarty estate in Derry last night and told the driver to take the device to Strand Road police station. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

A bus driver was ordered to transport a viable bomb to a police station in Northern Ireland last night.

Two men boarded the bus close to the Ballymagroarty estate in Derry last night and told the driver to take the device to Strand Road police station.

A number of passengers were on board at the time. The driver abandoned his bus in the Northlands area of the city and contacted police.

Ciaran Rogan from Translink, which operates the public transport network, said the driver had been left badly shaken by the ordeal. Mr Rogan said: “He is off work and will be for a while.”

But he insisted services in Derry would not be disrupted. The device was hidden in a holdall-type bag.

Stormont Transport Minister Danny Kennedy praised the driver’s bravery.

“Attacks on public transport impact the entire community who depend on buses and trains to get to work, school, hospital and go about their daily business,” he said.

Around 30 families were evacuated while army bomb disposal teams made the device safe. The alert ended at about 3.30am and residents were allowed to return home.

A spokesman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said the bomb had been removed for further tests.

He said: “Police would appeal to anyone who witnessed this incident or anyone with any information about the incident to contact detectives at Strand Road.”

PA