Policeman helps 66 escape coach inferno
An off-duty policeman is believed to have led the evacuation of more than 60 Sikh women and children shortly before the double-decker bus carrying them home to Bedfordshire from a seaside outing burst into flames.
Several overtaking motorists flashed the driver when they saw smoke pouring from the coach on the M3 on Friday evening and when it pulled on to the hard shoulder the policeman stopped his vehicle and leapt aboard.
The two men cleared the coach shortly before it was engulfed in flames.
The driver had reportedly pulled off the motorway earlier when the smell of burning rubber was brought to his attention, but a decision was taken to travel on to the next service station where a mechanic and a replacement vehicle would be waiting.
Sixty-six women and children were returning to the Sikh temple in Dallow Road, Luton. They were among 200 people on a three-coach outing from the gurdwara.
The Dorset Echo newspaper quoted one passenger, Mrs Inderjeet Buar, as saying:
“We pulled over and a driver who had also stopped, who I believe was an off-duty policeman, ran on to the coach and got everyone off very quickly.
“It all happened in seconds. As we were backing away from the coach there was an explosion, and then another one. It was horrific. The whole thing went up in seconds.”
Fifty-five firefighters fought the blaze for 90 minutes, confronted by heat which melted the motorway surface, said the Echo.
The passengers, wrapped in foil blankets, were looked after by emergency services until a replacement coach arrived.
A police investigation is under way and the Luton-based coach company Premier Travel says it is carrying out an investigation with the Vehicle Inspectorate.
A spokesman for the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK praised the actions of the driver in a statement released on behalf of the coach company.
He said: “The quick thinking and professionalism shown by our driver enabled all of the 66 passengers on board to be promptly evacuated from the vehicle and led to a safe location.
“We praise our driver for not only safely and expertly evacuating the passengers from the coach, but also making sure that other road users were not placed at any risk.”
- Royal Mail stamp to feature Princess Sophia Duleep Singh - January 15, 2018
- Welcome to the team Rajveer Kaur - January 9, 2018
- Want to write for Sikhs Online? - January 1, 2018
- New Years Eve programme not to be missed at Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara - December 31, 2017
- The Chaar Sahibzaade – POEM - December 26, 2017
- Melbourne School Change their Uniform Policy for a Sikh Boy - December 23, 2017
- Meet The Woman Behind London Finance Solutions - October 15, 2017
- Canada – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is Getting Married - December 19, 2017
- The Boy with the Topknot – Film Review - November 14, 2017
- Munshi Singh and The Komagata Maru Incident - October 28, 2017
- Royal Mail stamp to feature Princess Sophia Duleep Singh
- Welcome to the team Rajveer Kaur
- First Female Turbaned Sikh Pilot Congratulated by SGPC
- Sikhs in USA showcase a floral spectacle
- Want to write for Sikhs Online?
- New Years Eve programme not to be missed at Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara