Translink driver's lucky escape after Belfast city centre building collapse

A Translink driver has had a lucky escape after finding himself just metres away from a building collapse in Belfast city centre on Thursday morning.

Emergency services attended the incident on Wellington Place after masonry fell from the frontage of Oasis gaming centre. No one was injured. It happened around 11:15am when a loud bang was heard in the area. The PSNI attended the scene along with colleagues from the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service.

Police said a bus lane at Wellington Place had been closed, while the area has been cordoned off. The fire service said one fire engine and a specialist rescue team were called to the incident.

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Speaking to Belfast Live at the scene, one Translink driver told us: "Myself and another driver had just said hello to each other and the next thing we heard a loud bang and the whole thing just came down onto the street. It just happened all of a sudden.

"We're hoping to have the area cleared as soon as possible and services fully back up and running again. The main thing is that thankfully no one was injured."

The scene on Wellington Place in Belfast city centre on Thursday morning
The scene on Wellington Place in Belfast city centre on Thursday morning -Credit:Belfast Live

SDLP Botanic Cllr Gary McKeown said it was a miracle no one was killed: "At the site of the building collapse in Wellington Place. Emergency services dealing with the issue. It's a miracle no one was killed as these are massive pieces of masonry that fell. I've spoken to Building Control in the council about it and the need to make the site safe."

Alliance Cllr Sam Nelson also said it was lucky no one was injured here, or worse: "I raised my concerns about the risk of falling masonry in another part of the city centre at council a few months ago. We need to make sure our town centre buildings and built heritage is being fully maintained and looked after."

A NIFRS spokesperson said: "Firefighters were called to reports of the partial collapse of the front façade of a commercial building on Wellington Place, Belfast. Firefighters made the area safe and handed the scene over to building control. No persons have been injured. The incident was dealt with by 12.39pm.”

A brief traffic statement issued by a PSNI spokesperson said: "The bus lane in Wellington Place, Belfast City Centre is currently closed due to part of a building collapsing in the area. Drivers and pedestrians are advised to approach the area with caution."

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