Bradford

Otley Rugby Club coach is M1 bus drama hero

Fourway Coaches coach
Image caption The coach was left badly damaged in the incident

A rugby club coach who grabbed the wheel of the team bus when its driver collapsed has been hailed as a hero.

Mark Luffman took control of the Otley Rugby Club coach as it careered across the M1 near Sheffield on Saturday.

The team, from West Yorkshire, were on their way to a match against Coventry when the coach veered across all three lanes of the motorway.

Club Secretary Mark Lawrence said: "If it hadn't been for Mark Luffman who knows what could have happened?"

He said Mr Luffman, the Otley forwards coach, sprang into action as soon as it became apparent the driver was no longer in control of the bus.

'Close to death'

"I think he'll underplay his performance in all this, but the bloke was a true hero," said Mr Lawrence.

"Luffers' quick reaction, he has dived over, grabbed the steering wheel, pulled levers to stop the coach as best he could.

"It's miraculous, you just don't realise how close you are to death."

The driver then came round and was able to steer the bus on to the hard shoulder, where he was treated by paramedics before being taken to hospital.

His condition is not yet known and nobody was available for comment at his company, Fourway Coaches of Leeds.

'Very very scary'

Despite their ordeal, the Otley team then decided to continue their journey on another coach.

After a delayed kick-off the National League One match eventually went ahead, with Otley losing 18-10.

Coventry club president and chairman, Peter Rossborough, said members of the Otley team had described the experience as "very, very scary".

"They careered along against the central reservation for something like half a mile before they came to a full stop.

"Certainly had the coach not grabbed the wheel it could have been far more serious for both the driver and the players.

"They're very relieved to have got out of it with no fatalities."

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