22 of the injured passengers of Sunday’s tragic M7 tour bus accident returned home from four different hospitals on Monday, but those who are severely injured remain in hospital care. Eyewitnesses and an expert consider it virtually impossible that the driver fell asleep at the wheel, the suggested cause of the accident being an extremely unlucky tire blowout.
Eight passengers died, eight were severely injured and the 40 others sustained minor injuries in the fatal tour bus accident which happened early in the morning on Sunday. The Volmer-Tours bus veered completely off the road and rolled into a stream, but the exact cause of the accident is not yet clear.
Expert Says Driver’s Condition was Not the Problem
The claim that the driver fell asleep or fell ill is increasingly being refuted, while the suggestion that the accident was caused by a tire blowout is being considered much more plausible. Not only has this been the position of a passenger who survived the crash, but now also that of an expert in the field.
Professional driving instructor Szilárd Köves considers it highly unlikely that the bus driver fell asleep, since he had practically just begun his shift. Two drivers had been taking turns at the wheel following the tour’s daytrip to Baška, Croatia. Köves is confident that both were well rested since they had been following the protocol for taking breaks.
Regarding the suggestion that the driver became unwell, Köves explained that an experienced driver knows that in such a circumstance they need to slow the vehicle down, stop, and tell their colleague that they are unable to drive. Drivers are also required to have routine doctors’ check ups depending on their age.
Tire Blowout Rare but not Impossible
The instructor said that a well-kept bus is less likely to have technical defects, but it is not impossible, causing 2-3 percent of accidents. A tire blowout, he continued, is not characteristic of today’s tires, but if it does happen, “it can cause immediate and very serious danger.” The bus turns to one direction or another, and even if the driver turns the wheel, they will either turn it too much or too little.
Köves is confident that the correct protocol was followed during the emergency, but that the accident itself was one which the driver could not prepare for. The expert added as a general statement that while the driver is in the area of most danger, “in the interest of avoiding severe injury ‘we do in fact need to use’ the seatbelts on buses too.”
Rolitúra, the tourism agency which organized the trip, informed Telex that the 2013 Mercedes tour bus they rented was in excellent condition, its most recent technical inspection having been in March 2021.
A Shocking Tragedy
The driver who had finished his shift and was not at the wheel was sent out through the windshield as the bush crashed. He survived, but lost his mother, who he had invited on the trip for her 70th birthday.
After the crash I came to my senses while lying in grass. I saw that my seat and the entire front of the bus had disappeared. I do not know how I survived this… I saw Laci behind the wheel and immediately knew he was dead. My mother was sitting behind him. I looked at her and immediately knew I could not help her.”
János K. considers it impossible that his colleague, who had been driving tour buses for 15 years without a single problem, would have fallen asleep at the wheel. He also believes the cause of the accident was a tire blowout, but experts will give the exact cause certainty.
In the featured photo, firefighters lift the tour bus out of the ditch it had fallen into near Szabadbattyán early Sunday morning. Featured photo by Tamás Vasvári/MTI