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The new 'heroes of Sostoa'

Francisco Guzmán, a paediatrician, helped to save the driver.
Francisco Guzmán, a paediatrician, helped to save the driver. / SUR
  • When a bus crashed into 12 vehicles after its driver suffered a heart attack in Malaga last week, four passengers came together to save the day

Calle Héroe de Sostoa is one of the main arteries into the city from the western side and has provoked a lot of debate among locals over the years: who is the 'hero of Sostoa'? Was there just one or several? From which battle was it?

The truth is there was one, called Tomás, and he was known for his bravery in the face of Napoleonic troops. However now, we must add four more: Antonio, Francisco, Clara and an anonymous passenger on the number 1 bus which crashed into 12 vehicles, mostly cars, after the driver suffered a heart attack.

These heroes, not known to one another, came together like a well-drilled rescue team, removing the driver's foot from the pedal, calling on the radio to find out how to switch off the engine, opening the doors to evacuate the passengers, and performing lifesaving cardiopulmonary resuscitation manoeuvres to bring him back to life.

At the Carlos Haya hospital, where he is recovering from heart failure, the driver was told that his passengers had saved his life.

Fate

Antonio Guzmán shouldn't have been on that bus, "although now I'm glad I was there, because I was able to help," he says. He normally took the earlier one but on Friday he just missed it.

Just like Tomás de Sostoa, who was born in Uruguay, Antonio is also from the other side of the pond. This 39-year-old from the Dominican Republic, said: "After the first impact I saw that the driver was convulsing and then the cars started piling up. The screams of the people and the panic will stay with me forever."

Francisco Luis Guzmán always goes to work by car but he had a dinner with friends and didn't want to drive. "My wife offered to take me but I told her I didn't mind taking the bus." Francisco, from Malaga, was sat in the seat closest to the driver doing a sudoku on his phone when he heard "a loud crash". After finding a way, with the help of another man, to get him out of his seat, he made it known he was a doctor. As did Clara. The pair of them carried out cardiopulmonary resuscitation manoeuvres and his pulse returned. However, it went once more at which point the emergency services took over. "I was very dejected because he had suffered a massive heart attack," said the paediatrician.

While this was all going on, Antonio was looking out for the safety of the passengers on board, on the radio trying to work out how to shut down the engine and open the doors.

With everyone finally off the bus, attention turned back to the driver. The anxious wait continued until from the ambulance came a thumbs up. "That made us all smile," he said.