September 16th is not a day that IT specialist Ivo Raisr is likely to forget in a hurry. His regular morning trip to work by bus turned into a near-disaster and he himself made the prime time news as hero-of-the-day. Police and paramedics say his level-headed action in a crisis saved many lives.
It was a Monday like any other and Ivo Raisr was commuting to work from his home town Liberec to the Czech capital where he works as an IT specialist on security systems. He originally meant to travel later and because he bought his ticket at the last minute he got the last vacant seat to be had, that directly behind the bus driver. He says he was deeply immersed in his work when the crisis came.
“I was working on my laptop when I heard a loud crash and the whole bus shook. I looked up to see what was going on and I saw that the driver had fallen from his seat and was lying in the aisle. I could see we were going to hit the guardrail again and there was a crevice beyond so I knew I had to do something fast. I jumped into the drivers’ seat and grabbed the wheel, but the driver’s legs were blocking the pedals, so all I could do right then was steer. I shouted to the others to pull him out. When they did, I could start using the break and the bus gradually slowed down. I branched off the highway and managed to stop the bus safely at a petrol station nearby.”
By that time, the police and paramedics were on their way, having been alerted by other drivers that a bus was in trouble on the highway. Even before they arrived the bus driver had regained consciousness, telling Raisr where he would locate the hand-break and how to open the doors to let the fifty or so terrified passengers get a breath of fresh air.
The police and paramedics have not been sparing in their praise of Raisr’s brave action saying that given the terrain, busy morning traffic on the highway and the fact that the bus was travelling at a speed of 110 km per hour when the driver collapsed, he had with certainty averted a major disaster.
Although the 41-year-old IT specialist has a regular driver’s license, he had never before sat behind the wheel of a bus or any larger motor vehicle.
As soon as he had stopped the bus safely, Raisr was surrounded by the other passengers who wanted to shake his hand and clap him on the back, many shedding tears of gratitude. Although people are calling for him to be given an award for bravery, Raisr insists that what he did was perfectly normal and anyone with a level-headed approach would have done the same.
Asked what had given him the speed and courage to act Raisr said he was not sure himself what had made him take over in a split second.
“I guess it may be the fact that I have to make fast decisions at work on a daily basis and then also my children – children keep you on your toes.”