Driver hailed as hero as tragedy averted after wheels fall off tour bus
Tragedy was narrow averted when a bus driver managed to maintain control of his vehicle and bring it to a safe stop despite losing two wheels on a busy motorway.
The quick-thinking driver wasted no time evacuating his passengers as his bus partially blocked the slow lane of the M18 near Dromoland in Co Clare.
The bus was travelling southbound at around 5:30pm when the two rear inside wheels separated from the axle and bounced over the crash barrier and down an embankment.
The driver kept his vehicle travelling straight and brought it to a safe stop. He escorted his passengers, understood to be a group of about 20 tourists of varying nationalities, off the vehicle and over the barrier to safety.
The tourists were guided to an area about 50m forward of the bus in case another vehicle smashed into it.
Meanwhile, the driver did his best to warn oncoming traffic while alerting gardai.
Gardai arrived within minutes and strategically positioned their patrol cars so as to redirect traffic into the overtaking lane away from the dangerously positioned bus.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) maintenance crews also arrived at the scene and laid out traffic cones to help with traffic flow. They also removed debris from the motorway.
The bus was later hauled onto the rear of a recovery truck and driven away.
The wheels were located and recovered from the bottom of the embankment about 50 feet from where the bus came to a safe stop.
A garda forensic crash scene investigator inspected and photographed the bus and the wheels before the vehicle was towed from the scene.
No one was injured in the incident which is now being investigated by gardai.
A replacement bus was called to bring the passengers to their destination.