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Man critical after being hit by bus on Belfast's Ormeau bridge while coach catches fire on motorway

By David Young

Published 09/06/2015

Police attended the scene of a crash last night believed to have involved a bus and a pedestrian. The front window of the bus was damaged
Police attended the scene of a crash last night believed to have involved a bus and a pedestrian. The front window of the bus was damaged
The Ulsterbus that burst into flames

A man was in a critical condition in hospital last night after he was struck by a bus in Belfast.

He was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital after being knocked down by a Metro bus shortly after 8pm.

It happened close to the Ormeau bridge that crosses the River Lagan.

The man's condition was last night described as critical by a hospital spokeswoman.

The windscreen of the bus was shattered close to the door at the front corner of the vehicle.

The collision was one of two serious incidents involving double-decker Translink vehicles yesterday.

Earlier, 40 terrified passengers fled a coach as it dramatically burst into flames on a motorway hard shoulder.

The back of the Goldliner Express caught fire near Moneynick on the M22.

The bus, which was travelling from Belfast to Londonderry, was gutted in the incident.

The blaze caused traffic chaos for hours as fire and rescue teams fought to bring the blaze under control. Three fire appliances attended the scene.

However, no ambulances were required, and the passengers were later able to board another bus to continue their journey.

A Fire & Rescue Service spokesman said appliances from both their Antrim and Ballymena stations were summoned to the incident.

"We got a call at about 5.30pm, and when our crews arrived at the scene the bus was well alight. The fire looked like it had started in the engine compartment at the rear the vehicle, and had spread rapidly along both the upper and lower decks of the bus," he said.

A Translink spokeswoman said the coach was the 4.50pm Goldline service from Belfast to Derry.

"The driver became aware of the fire and got everyone off safely and they have been transferred to another bus to take them on their journey," the spokeswoman said.

"The fire brigade were called immediately. We will be carrying out an investigation and all we can do is apologise at this stage."

While no passengers were injured, it is understood the female bus driver sustained minor hand injuries as she struggled to free the bus's fire extinguisher from its mounting.

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