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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 22 August, 2019
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Derry bus driver showed 'immense courage' to stop bomb attack

The woman has been described as a “selfless heroine” today.

Northland Road
Northland Road
Image: Google Streetview

A BUS DRIVER in Derry has been lauded today for her role in stopping a bomb from detonating in the city last night.

A masked man, who described himself as new IRA, boarded her bus at about 6.15pm Wednesday, ordering it to be driven to Strand Road police station.

Defying the order, the woman evacuated the 10 passengers on board and drove to the nearest bus stop that was located outside the Ballymagroarty housing estate she had been driving through.

The vehicle was eventually stopped on Northland Road, a less populated area outside the city centre.

She notified police who tasked army technical officers to the scene. A number of homes in the area were evacuated and police confirmed the device was viable.

Residents returned to their properties at about 3.30am after the bomb was removed for further forensic examinations.

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy condemned the incident but praised the “immense courage” of the driver who faced a “frightening situation”.

Attacks on public transport impact the entire community who depend on buses and trains to get to work, school, hospital and go about their daily business,” he added.

“Translink staff provide a vital service to thousands of people and they should be allowed to carry out their work without fear of threat or intimidation.

“This selfless heroine put the lives of her passengers and people living around ahead of herself,” added SDLP councillor John Boyle.

“This latest incident in Derry was a source of real distress for the bus driver, passengers and people whose homes were evacuated on what was one of the coldest and blustery nights of the winter.

“Placing devices on public transport is disgraceful and entirely unacceptable. This Translink worker, who I understand is female, and the passengers were placed on the front line last night and I completely condemn this attack on local people.”

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness tweeted:

The courage of the bus driver who last night prevented a bomb attack on the Peace Process in Derry must be commended & the attack condemned.

Strand Road police station has been targeted by dissidents on previous occasions.

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