Disabled bus passengers’ lucky escape after Glenarm wall collapse

The remains of the collapsed wall pictured lying in the road outside Glenarm. INLT-36-709-con

The remains of the collapsed wall pictured lying in the road outside Glenarm. INLT-36-709-con

  • Three disabled passengers on board as wall collapses onto Coast Road
  • Driver says incident could have resulted in a fatality
  • One passenger left with minor injury and bus wheel buckled
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A bus driver transporting disabled passengers says someone could have been killed after a wall collapsed onto the Antrim Coast Road.

Northern Trust employee Wilbert Clarke has told of his lucky escape after a wall designed to prevent landslides collapsed as he drove past last Monday.

Carnalbanagh man Wilbert, who has spent the last 12 years working as a bus driver for the Northern Trust, was transporting three disabled passengers and a Care Assistant from Carnlough to Glenarm en route to Gloucester Park Day Centre when the bricks fell near Glenarm’s 30mph speed limit.

“There have been landslides in that area over the years and they have repaired the landslide area with concrete vertical slabs and a wall made of blocks,” he told the Times.

“I was on my way back from Carnlough and was just approaching one of those repairs when it happened.

“There must have been a movement of earth.

“There was a clatter and I automatically stopped.

“The bus wasn’t damaged but there was a puncture and I called the police.

“I was worried for the safety of my passengers but thankfully no-one was badly hurt.”

However, Wilbert believes that the near miss could easily have resulted in a fatality.

“For the disabled adults it’s doubtful that they could have saved thmselves if there had been a serious accident, and if it had happened on the journey to Carnlough I would have been driving on that side of the road,” he reflected.

“There are quite a lot of cyclists on that road and if a cyclist had been there they would have been killed.

“If it had been a car or myself coming along in the minibus it could have been a wreck.

“The wall was high and the whole thing just fell out in one big slab.”

After waiting for half an hour for a replacement bus to come, the passengers and Wilbert were able to resume their journey unscathed.

The DRD was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

A Northern Trust spokeswoman revealed that one passenger had reported a minor injury and was advised to see his GP, while the bus sustained a ‘buckled’ wheel rim.

The spokeswoman also revealed that there are normally more passengers on the coach during the weekly trip.

“This is a regular weekly trip to Carnlough and there are usually nine people on the collection list for this day,” she explained.

The DRD was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.