The bus crash near Belfast city centre yesterday afternoon triggered the implementation of an emergency plan put in place to deal with incidents involving large numbers of casualties.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident on East Bridge Street, close to Central Station, the major incident plan was collectively |activated by the emergency services.
This involved bringing in extra staff to assist with the treatment of patients at four different hospitals and the pooling of resources by emergency services.
This, a spokesperson for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said, was standard procedure in the aftermath of such an event.
Police, ambulance service and the fire and rescue service were on hand to assist with the incident within minutes of it happening.
Remarkably all on board the vehicle escaped serious injury, although 27 people — including the driver — were treated at the various hospitals, mainly for cuts, bruises and sprains.
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service dispatched eight accident and emergency vehicles, three rapid response vehicles, intermediate care vehicles and five ambulance officers to the scene as soon as the incident was reported.
The first of its vehicles was at the scene within five minutes.
It is understood that cutting equipment was used to free the driver, who was the most seriously inured, from the bus.
Twenty-seven patients were transported to the Belfast City Hospital, Royal Victoria Hospital, Mater Hospital and the Ulster Hospital at Dundonald.
Five people were treated by medical staff at the scene.
Some passengers were put on spinal boards as a precaution.
It is not believed that any of the patients suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of the incident.
Ambulance Service spokesperson John McPoland said: “Thankfully no one is seriously hurt. A lot of people are walking wounded.”