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No-licence Irena is bus heroine

2013-03-03 20:15

RESCUERS JUST THE TICKET: Two female passengers, neither a driver, saved a bus-load of passengers by taking the wheel after the driver collapsed. VIDEO

WARSAW, Poland - Two passengers who saved a runaway bus when its driver passed out have become local heroes.

Many of the 20 people aboard the bus screamed in panic when the driver suddenly fell off his seat in the fast-moving vehicle near the town of Kierzemark.

"He's fallen off!" shouted Irena, a middle-aged passenger. "Can anybody drive?"

TESTS FOR DRIVER

Dramatic CCTV footage shows her grabbing the steering wheel as the bus veered left into an oncoming lane and hit the side of a car before ramming a road sign which smashed its windscreen.

With the assistance of passenger Gabriela Donke-Banach, Irena regained control of the bus and
brought it back into its lane before a male passenger braked it to a halt.

At that point the driver regained consciousness and asked: "What happened?" He didn't appear to be hurt but he was taken to hospital for tests.

"I don't know how I did it. I was in shock," Irena said on TVN24, adding that she didn't even have a driving licence. Many TV stations in Poland showed the video and portrayed her as the bus's saviour.

'IT WAS INSTINCTIVE'

Either out of modesty or an effort to protect her privacy, she declined to give her surname.

Asked why she had assisted Irena, Donke-Banach, a woman in her 20's, said: "It was an instinctive action to help the woman and to live - I wanted to live."

Piotr Topolewicz, the head of PKS Gdansk, which owns the bus, said the two women prevented a major crash that could have seriously injured many people. He offered each woman a free bus pass for life.

Police said nobody was injured in the car with which the bus collided.

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Read more on:    poland  |  warsaw

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