Rugby coach steers team bus to safety after driver blacks out on motorway

A RUGBY coach has been hailed a hero after grabbing the wheel of his out-of-control team bus as it veered across a busy motorway.

Former Leeds Tykes player Mark Luffman was travelling on the M1 with players and officials from Otley Rugby Union Football Club when the coach driver appeared to black out and the vehicle swerved across the motorway.

Players and officials said Mr Luffman could have saved many of their lives when he leapt into action near Barnsley on Saturday.

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The forwards coach, who was sitting near the driver, managed to steer the bus along the central reservation for about half a mile and slow it down.

The driver eventually came round and was able to take the coach back across the motorway and park up on the hard shoulder before being taken to hospital.

Marc Lawrence, first team manager for the West Yorkshire club, said: "It was remarkable that Luffers was there. On this occasion he travelled with us and he does not normally do so.

"He somehow managed to keep it straight." He said Mr Luffman leaned across the driver, grabbing hold of the steering wheel and keeping the vehicle in the central reservation.

"Anything could have happened. It could have gone through the central reservation or it could have flipped over. It's so lucky the coach didn't hit anyone else. The man is a hero."

The Otley team was on its way to a National League One match against Coventry when the drama unfolded.

Mr Luffman, 39, played down his act of heroism.

The modest coach, who is Leeds Carnegie Academy manager, praised the team for recovering quickly to play Coventry.

"I managed to just straighten the bus up and pull the handbrake up. That was pretty much it. A lorry driver stopped and he managed to stop all the traffic," he said.