Alps coach driver saves lives by crashing

Tributes are being paid to a bus driver who sacrificed his life to save 52 passengers in Alps crash horror.

Ashington man Maurice Wrightson steered his runaway coach into a cliff to stop it plunging into a ravine as it hurtled down a mountain.

Mr Wrightson was killed when the County Durham-based Classic Coaches vehicle he was driving ploughed into a steep bend in the French Alps.

But it has now been suggested the 64-year-old may have realised the Newcastle-bound service had a problem with its brakes before the crash at Alpe d’Huez, near Grenoble.

French police say they suspect there was a problem with the vehicle’s brakes.

French transport minister Frederic Cuvillier paid tribute to Mr Wrightson’s “remarkable courage”.

It is thought he may have warned everyone else on board about the problem then sacrificed himself to prevent the coach from heading over a ravine.

The coach was bringing British ski instructors home to the region when the accident happened at 1.45pm on Tuesday, April 16.

Several passengers escaped by jumping from the windows.

At least four people are thought to have been seriously injured and were being treated in local hospitals.

Tributes have been paid to Mr Wrightson on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.