Brave survivor relives Glasgow bin lorry tragedy

A teenage survivor of the bin lorry crash that killed six people in Glasgow has spoken for the first time about the tragedy.
Danielle Dawson was thrown into the air by the bin lorry which careered out of control in Glasgows George Square. Picture: Robert PerryDanielle Dawson was thrown into the air by the bin lorry which careered out of control in Glasgows George Square. Picture: Robert Perry
Danielle Dawson was thrown into the air by the bin lorry which careered out of control in Glasgows George Square. Picture: Robert Perry

Danielle Dawson, 13, was left with cuts and bruises after being struck and thrown 12 feet through the air by the careering bin lorry three days before Christmas.

Danielle spoke of her shock after she and two of her friends were injured in the George Square tragedy.

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She told a Sunday newspaper: “I just heard screaming – I don’t know who it was – and turned round and saw green. And then I was in the air.”

The teenager had met friends Alix Stewart, 14, and 18-year-old Irene McAuley at the Duke of Wellington statue in Royal Exchange Square. The girls, who all play basketball for Scotland, planned to go ice skating at the rink in George Square.

Danielle told the Sunday Mail: “I remember I was at the statue. I just know it as the guy with the cone on his head. I was with Irene and we walked from Queen Street to there, where we met Alix. I heard a scream and just turned and looked over my shoulder. I was standing closest to the gallery. Irene was in the middle and Alix was on the outside by the pavement.

“The lorry was right there. I could just see green.

“I was thrown three or four metres. I could see Irene but I couldn’t see Alix.”


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Danielle was helped by Claire Wright, who runs a local coffee shop, who wrapped the crash victim in her own coat until ­paramedics arrived.

Danielle’s mother Karen, who is four months pregnant, was travelling to the Royal Infirmary for a scan when she learned of the horrifying incident unfolding in George Square.

She said: “We were making our way to hospital and I noticed I had missed calls from Danielle and my sister Lisa. She told me a woman called Claire had called to say Danielle had been involved in an accident and was being taken to the Royal too.

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“I couldn’t think. I just went numb. I was fearing the worst.” She added: “When we arrived at the hospital, we could hear ­people saying that six had died.

“My partner Sandy took my hand and we went to reception to find out what we could. We were told Danielle was sitting up and speaking and that she was on her way to the hospital.

“We went to cancel the scan but they took me in and gave me a five-minute scan to make sure everything was okay. They were worried about the shock.

“When we got back to A&E, Danielle was there. Sandy and I went in. We looked at her and she looked at us and we just broke down. We were all ­cuddling each other.”

X-rays showed Danielle had no broken bones but was badly bruised. She had to spend just one night in hospital.

Her mother said: “You are ­relieved because your own child is OK but you are also thinking about everyone else. You know what they are going through because of their daughters. It’s mixed emotions.”

Danielle was released from hospital the day before Christmas Eve, but rather than spend Christmas morning opening gifts she visited her two friends, who were still in hospital.

Irene has now been able to go home from hospital while Alix, who suffered broken bones, kidney and liver damage and a severe injury to her ear, has taken her first steps since the accident.

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Three members of the same family, Erin McQuade, 18, and grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68 and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, ­suffering fatal injuries.

The three, all from Dumbarton, were out on a Christmas shopping trip when the out-of-control refuse vehicle ploughed into pedestrians in the city ­centre.

About 1,000 people attended a funeral service for Miss ­McQuade and the Sweeneys at St Patrick’s RC Church in Dumbarton yesterday.

Services have also been held for tax worker Jacqueline Morton, 51, from Glasgow and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh.

The final funeral service, for 29-year-old primary school teacher Stephenie Tait, 29, from Glasgow, is due to take place ­tomorrow in the city.


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