Former Northern Ireland football star Jim Magilton last night told of his miracle escape from a horror smash in England.
The Ipswich Town manager was one of seven people hurt in the terrifying crash involving three cars at Brentwood bypass on the A12 between London and Ipswich.
The 38-year-old Belfast man was travelling in a Toyota Land Cruiser along with club chairman David Sheepshanks and two other club officials when a car ploughed into them on Thursday night.
The vehicle which struck them burst into flames and pushed the Toyota 30 metres along the road before it collided with another car.
Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, Magilton, who won 52 caps for Northern Ireland, admitted he had had a lucky escape.
"I got a whack on my head and I have some bruising," he said.
"It all happened so quickly. All l can remember is that there was a big shunt from behind.
"We all came out of it relatively unscathed. It could've been a lot worse than it was, but thankfully no-one was seriously hurt."
Magilton - who was back at work yesterday - heaped praise on the emergency services who attended to the injured parties.
"The Essex Fire and rescue and Ambulance Services were at the scene really quickly and did a thoroughly professional job," he said.
The two men were taken to Chelmsford Hospital in Essex after the accident. Both escaped with only slight bruising.
A spokesman for Ipswich Town last night confirmed that the club's vehicle was a write off.
"Thankfully they weren't seriously hurt. The club car was probably written off. It is lucky that they were in a sturdy 4x4 vehicle which helped prevent their injuries being any more serious.
"Jim is back at work today and getting ready for the big derby match against East Anglia rivals at Norwich City on Sunday."
Magilton was on his way home from London City Airport when the accident happened on Thursday around 8pm.
A Ford Fiesta smashed into their Toyota Amazon Land Cruiser, ramming it some 30 metres into another vehicle, a Vauxhall Vectra, in front.
Two employees of Ipswich Town, including advisor Charlie Woods, were hurt.
The driver of the Fiesta, who was pulled from the blazing car to safety by another motorist, suffered a broken leg. His wife suffered concussion. The Vauxhall Vectra driver also suffered minor injuries.
All seven victims were taken to the Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford.
The Ipswich Town party were released from the hospital on Thursday night after being examined.