A Donegal man who was riding a bus that caught fire at the start of a 10,649-mile (17,138 km) trip to surprise his oldest friend on his 50th birthday in Australia survived the big day. I was able to welcome
Ciaran Crawford and all 14 other passengers were safely off the bus before it burst into flames in Letterkenny last week.
Despite the delay, Crawford managed to catch a connecting flight to Doha, Qatar and then safely to Sydney to celebrate John Shields’ birthday.
“He’s one of my oldest friends. We hadn’t seen each other in years. I wasn’t going to miss it,” he said.
Mr Crawford told BBC News NI that he never expected his journey to begin this way.
At Letterkenny we boarded the express bus to Dublin Airport and took our seats to begin our four hour journey to the airport.
However, just before 21:00 local time, the bus stopped on the side of the road shortly after leaving.
“The engine must have been overheating at that stage and we saw the driver calling the depot,” Crawford explained.
The driver then turned the bus around and carefully tried to drive the vehicle back to Letterkenny.
“Then the big bang happened and everything fell apart,” he said.