THE OWNER of the Bridlington restaurant smashed into by a bus said his customers “were very lucky to be alive”.
Haydar Koc, known to most in the town as ‘Leo’, runs Leo’z restaurant on Promenade - the side wall of which was slammed into by a bus on Wednesday evening, after the driver was suspected to have suffered a heart attack.
“There was a party of fourteen children, aged 12-14, due to come in for a birthday party. If they had turned up three minutes earlier, they could have all been dead,” said Leo, who has run the restaurant on Promenade for around ten years.
“They had been bowling beforehand and had been slightly delayed, thankfully we only had a few customers in at the time.”
The 512 bus, which normally runs from Bempton Lane, had finished its service and was being driven back to the East Yorkshire Motor Service depot off Bessingby Road. It is believed the driver, thought to be in his 60s and from Bridlington, suffered a heart attack at the wheel and careered into a pillar at the gable end of the restaurant.
Leo continued, “The building inspector afterwards told me that if the bus had hit either side of the pillar, it would have came straight through the restaurant.
“I am always saying I need more customers but this is not a drive-thru!”
Leo said that at around 5.20pm, he heard a “huge, big bang which sounded like a bomb, or a gas explosion.”
At this point, an employee at the Masala Indian restaurant across the road, Jalal Hossain, ran across to tell Leo what had happened.
“Jalal was stood on the other side of the street, and if he had steered in the other direction then he would have been squashed,” Leo continued.
“We were all very lucky.”