An 84-year-old Huddersfield Town fan hitchhiked home from a roundabout near the M62 after a wheel flew off the bus she was travelling on.
Maureen Procter, 84, was travelling back from Austria with her daughter Susan Graham, and around 10 other fans, on the rail replacement bus from Manchester to Huddersfield yesterday evening (Saturday).
They had flown from Munich in Germany to Manchester after watching Huddersfield Town’s games against VfB Stuttgart and Torino FC.
Susan, who lives in Marsden, said the bus was approaching Outlane on the M62 when it suddenly came to a ‘grinding halt’.
The 57-year-old, who was sitting in the fourth row on the side above the lost wheel, said: “The bus dropped a little bit but then there was a really strong scraping noise.
“There was smoke and sparks, but I didn’t see any fire.
“The momentum brought the bus off to the grass verge on the right side of the road.
“We could see the wheel that dropped off carrying on up the slip road in front of the other traffic. I have no idea where it disappeared to.
“I think the driver was in shock and didn’t know what to do, but the doors opened quite quickly and we all got off.
“Myself and my mum walked up to the roundabout and a remarkably kind lady gave us a lift home.”
As TransPennine Express was doing major re-signalling work in Huddersfield this weekend, a replacement coach was arranged between Manchester Airport and Huddersfield.
The Rigby’s M-reg coach stopped at a slip road at M62 junction 23 at Outlane.
A replacement coach was arranged to take the remaining passengers to Huddersfield but some chose to make their own way.
Another football fan on board was not as forgiving.
Adam Morley, who was sitting in the first row, said: “I was travelling home to Skelmanthorpe from a Sheffield Wednesday match in Preston.
“As we came up the hill past Saddleworth, the bus slowed and you could smell burning. The steering wheel was at a 90° angle, it obviously had some alignment issues.
“As the wheel came off, it rolled a good 200 yards in front engulfed in flames.
“As the incident happened, the bus driver froze in his seat.
“I had to tell the driver to open the doors, which were slightly jammed as the bus was trapped against the floor.
“On that section of the slip road it’s pretty much a blind corner and there was no direction from the driver.
“A bus of 49 passengers stranded on a slip road was not the safest.”
A spokesperson for TransPennine Express commented: “We apologise to all our customers on board the coach. Fortunately there were no injuries, and everyone was able to continue their journeys, either by a replacement coach or arranging their own onward travel.
"The safety of our customers and employees is our number one priority and this situation is being dealt with accordingly. A full investigation into the incident is now under way.”