Bin lorry crash: Driver told nurse he felt fine

The crash killed six people. Picture: Robert Perry
The crash killed six people. Picture: Robert Perry
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The driver of the bin lorry that crashed and killed six people in Glasgow city centre told a nurse he did not feel unwell prior to the incident, an inquiry has heard.

Off-duty nurse Lauren Mykoliw said Harry Clarke asked if he had had a heart attack when she rushed to the scene to help out.

The 28-year-old said she was at the festive market in George Square three days before Christmas last year when she heard a loud bang. She initially thought something had happened to the big wheel in the square before realising that the bin lorry had crashed.

She climbed into the ­vehicle and started speaking to Mr Clarke, whom she said was conscious and had his seatbelt on.

Ms Mykoliw said he told her he could not remember what happened but he also said he did not feel unwell and had not blacked out before the crash.

She told the fatal accident inquiry (FAI): “I asked if he felt unwell before the crash and had blacked out. He answered ‘no’.”

She added: “He said he remembered sitting at the traffic lights, then woke up where he was. He was pale and looked like he had had a shock.”

Paramedic Ronald Hewitson also treated Mr Clarke at the scene.

He took the driver’s blood pressure, oxygen saturation and asked if he could carry out an ECG. He said Mr Clarke asked him if he had had a heart attack.

Mr Hewitson said: “I believe I explained that tests showed that he hadn’t had one but that they would need to take blood at the hospital.”

Gillian Ewing, 52, from Mortonhall, was among those struck and killed by the lorry.

Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire; Stephenie Tait, 29; and Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow, also died.

It was heard at the inquiry that it took just 19 seconds for the tragedy to unfold.

Mark Hill, from the Transport Research Laboratory, compiled a report on the crash which contained references to incidents in which people in control of vehicles had fallen ill, resulting in others taking action.

One such incident saw an untrained passenger manage to land a light aircraft with radio instructions.

Mr Hill said: “The difference the plane passenger had was thinking time. We are dealing with a constrained environment [with the lorry].”

The collisions expert added that successful passenger interventions were “rare”.

The FAI also heard from Robert Soutar, manager of the Anderston depot where Mr Clarke would pick up his crew each morning.

Questioned by Solicitor General Lesley Thomson, who is leading the inquiry, Mr Soutar said there was no specific training for crews in dealing with a driver falling ill.

Mark Stewart QC, representing the Sweeney and McQuade families, then questioned Mr Soutar on risk assessments.

Mr Stewart asked why pedestrians were highlighted on the risk assessment forms but there was no mention of the specific route taken by the lorry, only the stops where bins are collected.

Peter Gray, representing Glasgow City Council, also questioned Mr Soutar and established that there are various safety training courses for drivers with “dozens of control measures” in place to limit risks on routes.