A TOURIST who was hurt when a bus fell 30 feet down an embankment near the Rest and Be Thankful has lost a test case against the firm which operated the coach, writes James Mulholland.

Allen Woodhouse was one of many passengers who sued Lochs and Glens (Transport Ltd) after a March 2015 accident on the A83 near Arrochar.

His lawyers launched a legal action against the firm, which is based in Gartocharn, because he claimed it was liable for the accident through the actions of its employee, the driver.

Five people were seriously hurt and dozens more wounded after the bus veered off the road.

One passenger described how it felt like being in a “washing machine”.

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The coach flipped upside down before turning back onto its side and stopping just six feet from Loch Restil.

A total of 51 people were on board - most of them pensioners from the Kent area – when the coach crashed on its way to Inveraray.

Police didn’t charge driver Elizabeth Gallon because officers concluded that the accident was caused by two freak gusts of wind.

Lawyers acting for Mr Woodhouse sought £15,000 compensation, claiming that Ms Gallon was driving too quickly for the prevailing weather conditions.

However, in a written judgement issued at the Court of Session, judge Lord Glennie ruled in favour of the coach company after concluding that Mr Woodhouse’s legal team had failed to prove their case.

He wrote: “Absent any proved connection between the coach’s speed and its vulnerability to being blown off course, [and] absent any evidence that the particular speed of the coach made an accident of this sort any reasonably foreseeable or in some way more likely, then the question of how to react in such circumstances and whether the speed of the crash allows sufficient time to react does not arise.

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“Negligence depends on reasonable foreseeability – it does not require steps to be taken in advance to meet a situation the occurrence of which is not reasonably foreseeable.

“In these circumstances, I do not accept the pursuer’s case that the driver was at fault.”

Following the incident, passengers told of how they heard a loud bang moments before the coach plunged off the twisting road.

One victim said at the time: “I thought we were all going to be dead. I thought we were going into that loch. I’m surprised nobody died.

“The bus turned over but bounced and landed upright. The windows smashed.”

Lawyers for Mr Woodhouse argued that Ms Gallon was driving too quickly in the moments before the accident.

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Lord Glennie concluded that “on the balance of probabilities”, the coach was travelling at about 40 to 45 mph at the time it was hit by a first gust of wind, and at around 35-40mph when a second gust struck.

He also concluded that there was no evidence to corroborate the claims that the coach was being driven too quickly for prevailing weather conditions.

He added: “The pursuer’s case that the coach was being driven at a speed of 40 to 45mph then it was being driven too fast was not supported by any expert or independent evidence to that effect.

“It was not said, by anyone, that at that speed the coach would be less easy to handle in the prevailing conditions or less responsive to directional control, or in some way less stable, more vulnerable to the impact of the wind, more prone to being deflected off course.

“For the above reasons I find that the pursuer’s case fails."

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