London tower bridge bus jump
The incident involving a bus jumping the London Tower Bridge took place on December 30, 1952. Here’s a more detailed account:
Albert Gunter was the driver of a number 78 Routemaster double-decker bus. As he was driving across Tower Bridge, to his horror, he realized that the bridge was beginning to rise, separating the two bascules (the bridge’s movable sections). This was due to a miscommunication: the watchman failed to ring the warning bell to signal that the bridge was about to be lifted.
Faced with the prospect of the bus falling into the River Thames, Gunter made a snap decision. He accelerated, jumping the bus over a three-foot gap, and managed to land on the north bascule, which was still in the process of rising but hadn’t separated too far from the road.
Miraculously, the bus landed safely, and only a few passengers suffered minor injuries, mainly due to the impact of the landing. Gunter’s quick thinking and bravery were lauded, and he was later awarded a bonus of £10 for his actions.
The event is now part of London folklore, and it showcases the unexpected moments of heroism that can emerge in everyday life.
Who was the bus driver who jumped Tower Bridge?
The bus driver who famously jumped Tower Bridge is Albert Gunter. On December 30, 1952, Albert Gunter was driving a double-decker bus (a number 78 Routemaster) across London’s Tower Bridge when the bridge began to open to allow a ship to pass through. Gunter made a split-second decision to accelerate the bus, jumping a three-foot gap, and successfully landed on the north bascule, which was still in place. Remarkably, only minor injuries were reported among the passengers. As a token of appreciation for his bravery, Gunter received a reward of £10.
Why did the Bridge lift?
Tower Bridge in London is a combined bascule and suspension bridge, and its central bascules (the sections that can be lifted) are designed to be raised to allow river traffic to pass. The River Thames sees a mix of traffic, including commercial vessels, tall ships, and pleasure cruisers. Some of these ships have masts or superstructures that are too tall to pass under the bridge when it’s in its normal, closed position.
On the day of the bus jump incident on December 30, 1952, the bridge was being raised for a ship to pass through. Typically, there are safety protocols in place to prevent any traffic from being on the bridge when it starts to lift, including warning alarms and barriers. However, due to some miscommunication or failure in following the usual procedures, the bridge began to lift while the bus was still on it, leading to the famous incident where driver Albert Gunter had to accelerate to jump the widening gap.