Bus crash in Austrian Alps averted after tourist applies brake

A quick-thinking French tourist has been praised for preventing a bus from plunging over a cliff in the Austrian Alps after the driver passed out.

The vehicle was travelling through the mountains in the Tyrolean Alps with 21 passengers on board when the driver, 76, collapsed, police say.

As the bus continued towards a steep cliff, the Frenchman was able to brake.

The bus crashed into a barrier at the side of the road and came to a stop. Four people were taken to hospital.

The passenger, a 65-year-old Frenchman, was sitting close to the driver when he became ill near the city of Schwaz in western Austria on Saturday, local media report.

He then leapt from his seat as the vehicle crashed through the wooden roadside guardrail and applied the brake, leaving the bus full of passengers hanging over the cliff edge a short distance from a 100m (328ft) drop.

“We were a hair’s breadth from catastrophe,” a local police spokesman said, adding it was “incredible luck” that the passenger’s reflexes had managed to stop the bus, AFP news agency reports.

In 2004, five tourists were killed when a coach left the road and tumbled down a 30m embankment near the village of Bad D├╝rrnberg, south of Salzburg, in Austria.


Posted in BBC