'I thought he was going to die in front of me', says hero bus driver Ronan Ward who saved a man jumping off bridge
A hero Translink driver has told of the dramatic moment he jumped off his bus to help save the life of a suicidal man.
Ronan Ward, who had been on his way from Londonderry to Dublin with a vehicle full of passengers, clung on to the man who had climbed over the railings of a bridge over the River Derg in Strabane.
Mr Ward and another passer-by held on tight to the man, who fought against them in his attempt to end his life until help arrived - while his passengers watched in awe.
Mr Ward described how, when he realised how serious the situation was, he pulled his bus over to the side of the road and ran to give assistance, ringing the emergency services at the same time.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Ward said he didn't give a lot of thought to what he was doing, explaining he just knew he had to help the man on the bridge.
He added: "I could see these two people on the bridge and a man who was in the middle of trying to climb over the railings so I stopped the bus and ran over straight away.
"I shouted to the man and woman to hold on to the man but by the time I reached them, the man was on the other side of the railings.
"It was so tense, he was determined to jump and fought against us as hard as he could but we clung on.
"It was tough going - the other young man helping said, 'I can't hold on, he is going to die in front of us' and it was looking that way, but between us we managed to hang on to the man until the police arrived."
With the help of the PSNI officers, the man was brought to safety and Mr Ward returned to his passengers.
He continued: "About 15 minutes or so had passed, so once the man was on the right side of the railing I went back to the bus, but I was shaking like a leaf, it was the adrenaline I think. I apologised to my passengers and told them there was no way I could have driven past the man and thankfully they agreed. They even gave me a round of applause.
"I tried to push the whole thing to the back of my mind for the rest of the journey to Dublin, but when I reached the depot in Dublin I rang home and told my partner what had happened. I had to drive home again and when I reached the same spot on the way back it really started to filter in to my brain what had happened.
"By the time I got into my own house I just burst into tears. I think I had held it together because I had to get my passengers to and from Dublin, but as soon as I was at home it all hit me.
"The police later told me the man was back with his family, which was great to hear.
"My managers found out about what happened on Twitter. One of my passengers contacted them and they have been good about it."
- Anyone in distress or feeling suicidal should contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or Lifeline, 0808 808 8000