Heroic teenage bus driver up for award after rescuing trapped passenger

Cameron Dyche climbed through the emergency exit and grabbed the handbrake. Photograph: Derek Ironside/Newsline Media
Cameron Dyche climbed through the emergency exit and grabbed the handbrake. Photograph: Derek Ironside/Newsline Media
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A 19-year-old bus driver who saved a passenger trapped on a runaway bus after its driver collapsed at the wheel has been shortlisted for a major award.

Cameron Dyche had been driving buses for just two months when he acted after seeing the passenger banging frantically on the windscreen as the bus came towards him in Aberdeen.

Dyche climbed through the emergency exit at the rear and rushed to grab the handbrake to prevent the bus hitting a gas main beside flats.

He then attempted in vain to resuscitate the stricken driver, who died later in hospital.

The First Aberdeen driver’s heroics, which have not previously been reported, have put him in the running for the Frontline Employee of the Year Award at the Scottish Transport Awards in Glasgow next week.

He is among eight transport staff on the shortlist for the accolade honouring actions beyond the call of duty.

The drama happened just after 5pm on Hogmanay last year as Dyche was waiting in his bus at the end of his route in Balnagask, in the south of the city, when he saw the Stagecoach single-decker approach.

He said: “As it was coming towards me, I saw a passenger banging against the front windscreen and the driver slumped back on his seat. I did not realise what was happening to begin with and had to take a double look.

“I went through the emergency exit at the rear because you can’t open the front door when the bus is moving.

“I ran down to the front and pulled on the handbrake. The bus came to a sudden stop while I supported the driver’s head and neck.

“I started CPR on him but there was no response.”

The former bus engineering apprentice, both of whose parents are bus drivers, said: “The bus had veered off the road onto a grass verge and was in danger of hitting a gas main less than five metres from the road.

“If it had happened a few minutes later, I would have started back on my route and would not have been able to do anything about it.

“The passenger was quite distressed, but he was able to help by dialling 999 using my phone.”

The citation for the award nomination said: “Cameron noticed a Stagecoach bus was moving, but the driver was slumped at the wheel and motionless.

“He proceeded to board the bus whilst it was still moving via the emergency exit and once on board immediately stopped and secured the bus. He commenced life-saving CPR on the driver until the paramedics arrived and the driver was transported to hospital.

“Although sadly the bus driver passed away, Cameron’s actions clearly prevented a more disastrous incident occurring.”

A spokeswoman for Stagecoach said: “We are extremely grateful for Cameron’s actions and have passed on our thanks for his quick thinking and calm approach during this incident.

“Our thoughts and best wishes remain with the family of our driver.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Police were called to the Balnagask Road area of Aberdeen at around 5:10pm on 31 December in relation to a bus driver who had taken unwell at the wheel. The bus mounted the pavement and came to a rest on the grassy verge. The man was taken to hospital.”