OFF-DUTY nurses and a doctor tried desperately to save a woman driver who died after falling ill at the wheel of her car in Weymouth.

Police said the 78-year-old Weymouth woman sadly died at the scene on the Swannery Bridge yesterday despite the best efforts of members of the public who came to her aid, and the paramedics who took over afterwards.

Police and ambulance crews were alerted to the bridge, close to the King Street crossroads about 3.20pm, and found people attempting to resuscitate the woman.

A Dorset Police spokesman said last night: “A line of vehicles were waiting at the junction which is controlled by traffic lights when a black Volkswagen Fox driven by a 78-year-old woman collided at slow speed with the vehicle in front of her own, a silver Mercedes driven by a 44-year-old man from Weymouth.

“The impact caused the Mercedes to collide with the rear of a silver Nissan Primera driven by a 46-year-old woman from Poole. Neither the Mercedes or Nissan drivers were injured.

“On alighting from their vehicles, it became apparent the VW driver was unwell.

“At this point members of the public stopped to assist including a doctor and two nurses. Despite their best efforts and those of the paramedics, they were unable to resuscitate the VW driver who sadly died at the scene.”

The spokesman said the road was closed for a short period to allow police to examine the scene and the vehicles.

Next of kin have been informed and police inquiries continue as officers appeal for witnesses.

It is understood the nurses who helped jumped off a First bus which passed the scene of the collision.

A spokesman for First said the vehicle wasn’t involved in the collision itself but it was used to screen the scene as emergency services worked in the area.

Bus passengers were transferred to another vehicle. The First spokesman said one of its inspectors who helped at the scene of the incident with logistics would be nominated for an internal awards scheme the company runs.

One witness said he saw paramedics treating a person at the scene.

He said: “The bus was stopped there for a while and then taken away to the depot. I saw the paramedics giving CPR to someone lying on the floor.”

Two lanes of the bridge were closed to allow the emergency services to work, causing severe delays.