Crash strands motorists in tunnel
Driver has a heart attack minutes after trucks collide
MOTORISTS were stuck in the Dublin Port Tunnel for 90 minutes yesterday when a car driver suffered a heart attack minutes after two trucks collided.
Gardai were last night investigating the crash which left 40 motorists stuck under the city after the tunnel was shut down.
Shortly before noon the tunnel's safety system detected that two HGVs travelling northbound had stopped moving and automatically began a shutdown of the 4.5km dual carriageway which runs underneath the city.
The tunnel was closed as emergency services rushed to the scene and treated one of the HGV drivers who suffered a shoulder injury.
However, motorists were forced to remain in the tunnel for almost 90 minutes because a car driver, who was not involved in the incident, complained of chest pains and had to be taken to hospital.
He was later released.
The Dublin Fire Brigade said that five units and two ambulances attended but no one was seriously injured.
Gardai did not authorise the release of vehicles until 1.10pm. They then exited via the southbound lane through large steel doors located between both tunnels and all had left by 2pm.
"There were two major incidents which happened -- a collision and someone having a cardiac event -- and they took priority," said National Roads Authority spokesman Sean O'Neill.
"We appreciate everyone's patience and all systems worked as designed."
HGVs cannot pass each other in the tunnel and are required to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front. The maximum speed limit is 80kmh.
Both vehicles were removed and taken for examination and gardai in Santry are investigating. They are expected to examine CCTV footage to determine the cause of the crash.
Public relations specialist Terry Prone was among the drivers stuck in the tunnel. She said motorists were not told about a crash, and that she learned the news from a journalist colleague who called her an hour into the incident.
"Announcements were made over the loudspeaker which no-one could understand. Then an announcement said to stay in your car with the engine off. Then nothing," she told the Irish Independent.
"I discovered from a friend in a newspaper that there had been a crash in the tunnel. At that stage I had been in the tunnel for about 50 minutes."
Motorists effectively had their €10 toll refunded when they were given tokens for a free journey through the tunnel as they left the site.
Anyone who did not get the token can contact 1890 252 435.