Twenty-six people were injured tonight after a double-decker bus and tram crashed in one of Dublin’s busiest city centre streets.
The Luas driver two men and a woman had a miraculous escape after being trapped in the mangled wreckage and cut free by rescue teams.
A relative of the woman was involved in the emergency operation holding bolt cutters for fire crews.
The driver and the woman were stretchered away after suffering serious injuries.
“It was serious enough as there were serious injuries and people were trapped,” a Dublin Fire Brigade spokesman said.
The accident happened at the corner of Abbey Street and O’Connell Street just before 3pm involving the number 16 bus to Santry and the Luas from Tallaght.
The tram de-railed on impact and ploughed into the side of the bus, pinning terrified passengers against broken glass and twisted seats.
It is understood the majority of passengers suffered minor injuries with many described as walking wounded.
Others suffered fractured ribs, bruising and cuts to the face and head.
Three fire engines, four ambulances and a paramedic team were among the emergency services that attended the scene.
Twenty-one people were taken to the Mater Hospital, though one was later transferred to Beaumont where three had already been brought.
Two were taken to St James’s Hospital.
Dublin Bus has launched a probe into the crash and it is expected investigators will look at whether a systems failure caused the collision or if the lights at the busy junction were jumped.
The accident sparked traffic chaos in the capital as rush hour motorists tried to make their way home.
Fine Gael called for the findings of any probe to be made public.
Senator Paschal Donohoe said: “My main concern is for passengers injured in this unthinkable collision.
“It is imperative that this crash be urgently investigated and that the findings be published.
“The public must have complete confidence in the safety of both the Luas and bus and this must be restored with a thorough investigation.”
Earlier this year, 10 people miraculously escaped injury after the roof was ripped off a double decker bus when it crashed into a tree.
The bus was making its way along a designated bus lane on Dublin’s North Strand towards Artane in February when it struck the overhanging tree.
One of the last major transport accidents happened five years ago when a Dublin Bus vehicle lost control and mounted a city centre pavement ploughing into a queue of passengers.
Five people were killed and others injured in the accident at a bus stop on Wellington Quay in February 2004.
Early last year a pedestrian was killed after being hit by the Luas – the first person to be killed in an accident involving the light-rail system since it began operating in 2004.
More accidents occur on the red line Tallaght route than on the Green Sandyford line because of the number of signal junctions.