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Hero bus driver talks distressed man off bridge in Northern Ireland

By Joanne Fleming

A Translink driver has been hailed a hero after he stopped his bus to talk a distressed man off a bridge in Strabane.

The bus driver was applauded by his passengers when he returned "shaking" from helping the man, ensuring he was safe before returning to his passengers.

The incident happened on the route of the 7am bus from Londonderry to Dublin on Saturday.

One of the passengers, Joseph Carlin, tweeted about what happened, alerting Translink.

He said: "Translink, you should know your driver just saved a life by talking a man off bridge in Strabane. Hero. He got back on the bus shaking to finish the job.

"The whole bus applauded him after he apologised to us for holding us up.

"No-one cared - we are in safe hands, man deserves an award.

"The man is safe and the driver is back on the road with us. He said he couldn't pass him. We agree #hero."

A Translink spokesman on Twitter thanked the passenger for alerting them, saying it was a "great thing to hear first thing".

"Well done that driver, hero indeed," said the spokesman.

"Thanks for making us aware."

The posts prompted a flurry of replies, praising the bus driver and anxious to know that his efforts would be recognised by Translink.

Mark Railton tweeted: "Please make sure this hero is suitably acknowledged by the company, far too many would have passed on by."

Translink, who were unavailable for official comment yesterday, indicated this would be the case.

They replied: "Don't worry Mark, driver has already been identified."

It also emerged that the man in distress was assisted by another passer-by before the bus driver tried to help.

Maria McGrath tweeted: "My partner was first on the scene this morning and was holding this man back from the water for 10 minutes before anyone came along."

She added: "Could have been a much different outcome. Thankfully community spirit is still alive! Everyone involved in helping are heroes for sure."

Sophie Flanagan, from Strabane, also tweeted her praise: "Thank God another man who is from Strabane was there before the bus got as far as the bridge."

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