VIENNA — Austrian police say a passenger in a bus with 23 others on board narrowly averted tragedy after the driver lost consciousness, helping stop the vehicle at the point when it was already hanging over an Alpine abyss.

A police statement says the driver fainted Saturday as the bus carrying French tourists was heading downhill from a pasture nearly 2,000 meters (about 6,600 feet) above sea level, east of the city of Innsbruck. It then gathered speed, repeatedly banging into the mountainside lining the road.

The passenger dashed forward and applied the brakes. That, and a guide rail piercing the front of the bus, brought it to a halt, but only after the front end was already jutting over a 100-meter (330-foot) precipice.

Police say 10 people needed medical help, of whom four were hospitalized.

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