Tributes are being paid to a bus driver who tragically lost his life in a single vehicle crash in Westmeath last night.
The accident occurred at approximately 5:30pm yesterday evening, in the townland of Killogeenaghan in Moate. The Bus Éireann vehicle that the 55-year-old male was driving left the road and subsequently crashed into a ditch.
There were 20 passengers on board with the driver, but he was the only person who did not survive the incident. Some of the passengers were treated at the scene for their injuries, while others were transferred to hospital to be treated with non-life threatening injuries.
The driver was taken to the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore in a serious condition, but he was later pronounced dead.
This morning, Garda Forensic Collision investigators have been thoroughly combing through the site of the crash, in an attempt to figure out its cause. Their ongoing investigation means that the road is currently closed and local diversions are in place for motorists.
Following the devastating tragedy, the mayor of the Athlone-Moate district, Vinny McCormack, has been speaking of his own shock and dismay. “It is an absolute terrible tragedy and our thoughts are of course with the driver and all of his family at this absolute terrible time,” he said.
“It is so sad that an experienced driver was in such a tragic accident while he was just doing his day to day job, and for something like that to strike while he was just trying to get from A to B is heartbreaking”, he added.
Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses of the bus crash to speak to them. Similarly, any road users with video footage (including dash cam) are being asked to make this available to Gardaí.
If anyone has any knowledge or information relevant to the investigation, they are being asked to contact Athlone Garda Station (090) 649 8550, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.