Northern Ireland

Belfast bus crash: 30 people treated for their injuries

A senior member of the Ambulance Service has said it was very fortunate that no-one was seriously injured or killed after a double-decker bus overturned in Belfast on Sunday.

Around 30 people, including two children and a pregnant woman, were injured in the accident.

Cutting equipment was used to free the badly injured driver from the bus.

The injured passengers were taken to four hospitals in Belfast.

The bus travelling towards Belfast city centre mounted the kerb just outside Central Station and collapsed on its side around 14:15 BST.

John McPoland from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said more than 20 of its personnel attended the scene.

'Pandemonium'

"My first thought when I heard about the incident and I was on my way to the scene was that we were going to be coming into a scene which was going to be absolute pandemonium," he said.

"We didn't know what we were going to find.

"We weren't sure how many people were on the bus until we actually got there, but thankfully when our first rapid response paramedic arrived he was quite quickly able to feed through to our control centre that the people on the bus were not seriously hurt."

Nine people were taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital, including the bus driver. Another 10 people attended the City Hospital, while eight were taken to the Mater Hospital.

Two children were transported to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and a pregnant woman was brought to the maternity unit at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald.

Most of the injured passengers were treated for cuts, bruises and sprains.

'Neck pain'

"A lot of people were shocked, some people had lots of cuts and bruises, there was lots of broken glass about the place," said Mr McPoland.

"One or two people were complaining of neck pain, so we had to treat that as a potential spinal injuries for about six or seven of the passengers onboard.

"The bus driver had to be cut out out by the Fire Service to allow us to remove him from the vehicle."

Ciaran Rogan from bus company, Translink, said the driver was recovering well.

"He remained in hospital overnight. He is much improved on the first reports yesterday," he said.

"He is obviously very traumatised and shocked, but in terms of physical injuries, it is not as bad as had initially been thought.

"His medical condition is the first priority and after that there will be a medical investigation as to what happened to him immediately before the incident."

Stacy Woods witnessed the crash.

Media captionThe bus ended up on its side after the accident

"It was quite dramatic. I ran up right away just to see if I could help out," she said.

"A lot of people were there on the scene and helped out.

"A lot of people from the oncoming traffic just went over to help smash open the windows to get the people out. It was very public driven.

"The guy I took to hospital and his baby were ok, that was all that mattered."

Investigation

Mr Rogan said it was too early to say if the accident had been caused by mechanical failure or human error.

He said a full investigation was being led by the police.

"On the engineering side they have impounded the vehicle, the CCTV from inside the vehicle, so they will complete a full engineering investigation, assisted by ourselves," he said.

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