GARDAI are hunting two men after a pedestrian was decapitated under the wheels of a double-decker bus following a street row.
Stunned commuters and shoppers witnessed the horrific death of the young man in the heart of Dublin city centre during rush hour.
He suffered devastating injuries after falling onto the road in the path of a Dublin Bus opposite Trinity College.
Gardai are treating his death as suspicious and believe he was either punched or shoved before falling back out onto the road.
At the same time the number 145 bus had travelled down Dawson Street and was taking a left turn onto Nassau Street when the man fell into its path.
The man went under the front of the bus and was killed instantly when a wheel went over his head.
Detectives were last night trying to track down the two men at the centre of the incident who disappeared after the death.
They were also working to confirm the identity of the deceased man, who is understood to be in his late 20s.
The tragedy, which happened at about 5.40pm, was over in seconds and stunned the huge pre-Christmas crowds milling through the area.
Witnesses who were close to the scene were visibly traumatised by the appalling nature of the man's death.
The driver of the Dublin Bus vehicle was also said to be in a shocked state. He had driven from Bray, Co Wicklow, on a busy route in rush hour traffic.
He was heading towards Heuston Station when the man fell into the bus's path. The driver managed to control the bus and it didn't crash following the initial impact.
News about what happened quickly spread among the many shocked passengers on the bus as the alert about the incident went out.
Emergency services and gardai were quickly on the scene but there was nothing they could do to save the pedestrian.
They were faced with a scene of chaos at one of the busiest times of day in the city. Traffic was diverted away from the area.
The area was cordoned off from the Nassau Street-Dawson Street junction.
A tent concealing the body was erected behind the bus which had passed over the man. Gardai also carried out an examination of the area around the road junction.
Officers interviewed witnesses, including the driver, but appealed to anyone who saw exactly what happened to contact them.
Motorists were urged to stay away from the area as the garda investigation intensified when it was realised they were not dealing with a routine road incident.
A Dublin Bus investigation also started and inspectors were sent to the scene. A spokeswoman said they had a strict procedure for incidences involving buses. It included interviewing eye witnesses, trawling through CCTV footage and checking the scene.
Gardai are treating the death of the man as suspicious but the investigation could be upgraded at a later stage.
Anyone with information should contact Pearse Street garda station on 666 9000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.