A grandmother thought her goose was cooked when a low-flying swan smashed into her windscreen as she drove on a dual carriageway.
But thanks to her cool, calm, reaction and some expert driving, Mary Murphy from Knocknaheeny on Cork city’s northside, said she’s glad to be alive after the freak accident on the main Cork to Mallow road.
“It is my first ever motor accident. It was terrifying and I was in shock. Having had some time to think about it, I feel sorry for the poor old swan now, to be honest with you,” she told the Irish Examiner.
“But I’m just glad to be alive to tell the tale and that I was able to go and see my grandkids afterwards.
“I’m just glad that my family wasn’t coming to see me in the hospital as a wreck, or picking out a coffin for me.”
The terrifying incident occurred just after midday on Monday as Ms Murphy was driving in the outside lane towards Cork, just after the Blarney exit.
She told the Neil Prendeville Show on RedFM yesterday she noticed the car in front of her swerve a few times and thought the driver may be suffering a heart second.
But a split second later, she saw a swan flying straight at her car. She had no time to react and it smashed head-on into her windscreen, shattering the glass.
The bird was embedded in the windscreen, with blood pouring into the car. Such was the force of the impact, the roof of the car was buckled.
Despite not being able to see out, Ms Murphy had the presence of mind to react calmly and coolly.
“I couldn’t stop because I’d cause a pile up, and I couldn’t swerve to the left, because I’d cause a crash,” she said.
“The windscreen was in bits, the swan was half in the car, bleeding on top of me. I knew I had to get out of the fast lane.”
She turned on her hazard lights, signalled out her window and moved carefully towards the hard shoulder.
“I am quite a cool person in extreme circumstances but I had no other choice but to react that way,” she said.
Once she parked safely, she said the shock kicked in.
“I was physically shaking from head to toe and motorists just kept driving past me,” she said.
However, motorist Alan Burke and a cyclist, whose name she didn’t get, came to her aid.
“I can’t thank them enough — from the bottom of my heart. Alan especially. He was a rock to me and he stayed until two lovely gardaí from Blarney arrived,” she said.
The car suffered extensive damage to the bonnet, the windscreen and the roof, and it may be a write off.
But Ms Murphy, who works with the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Cork Centre for Independent Living, is now liaising with her insurance company and a crash repair company in the hope that her car can be repaired.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved