Nightmare lock-in at Letterkenny bus station

A visitor from England has spoken of his shock after he fell asleep on a Lough Swilly bus journey only to find himself locked in the bus depot Letterkenny in total darkness hours later.

A visitor from England has spoken of his shock after he fell asleep on a Lough Swilly bus journey only to find himself locked in the bus depot Letterkenny in total darkness hours later.

Bolton man, John O'Doherty, who suffers epilepsy and a heart condition, says he is now calling on the company to make it compulsory for all drivers to thoroughly check their buses at the end of each journey.

John explains: "I recently visited Donegal from England. At 5pm on Monday 31st January I got on the five o'clock Swilly bus from Derry intending to travel to the bus station at Letterkenny.

I have used this many times over the years - I am very familiar with it and until this date I have never had a single problem. Like many bus travellers, regretfully, I fell asleep on the journey. The next thing I awoke some two hours later in total darkness, locked on the bus which was freezing cold.

After a period of time I finally managed to free myself only to find that I was locked inside a bus depot. I did not have a clue where I was, I walked around frantically looking for a way of escaping to no avail. There was a speared fence enclosing the premises, I found a bin which I stood on in attempt to climb over. I could not do this and succeeded only in cutting my hand."

John says he became fearful for his health as he was without his medication at the time and his mobile phone had gone dead.

"I suffer from a serious heart condition and epilepsy and by time I was beginning to feel unwell and knew that one way or another I would have to escape this nightmare as all my medication was where I was staying. Struggling around in the dark, I eventually found a metal ladder.

"Some of the rungs were broken but I had no alternative but to use it. I eventually climbed onto the roof of a portakabin. I wasn't certain how safe the roof of this but I was desperate to free myself, which I eventually did."

On exiting the bus yard at Bonagee, he said his plan was to get a taxi from Letterkenny to Ramelton when he was stopped by three garda members, who, he pointed out, were very helpful when he explained the situation.

"This entire matter has left me angry, shaken, and in disbelief. I could have had a heart attack and died on that bus. It could have been an elderly person left on that bus. It could have been a vulnerable young person left on that bus. Valuable lost property could have been left on that bus," he stated.

He says he is now seeking legal advice on the issue.

A spokesman for Lough Swilly Buses said they have not been informed of the incident and described the situation as "unfortunate" if this was the case.

The spokesman added it is not company procedure to check each bus individually, but it is a recommendation they will now consider.