BENGALURU: AS many as 52 students of a private school had a miraculous escape after the bus they were in caught fire accidentally at Maddur near Channapatna on the busy Mysore-Bangalore Highway on Saturday. The bus was completely gutted by the time fire and emergency personnel came to the spot.
The students are from BEL School located at Jalahalli in the city. The vehicle was part of a fleet of six BMTC buses hired by the school to take the high school students on a one-day trip to Talakadu near Mysuru.
According to the police, at 7.45 am in MK Doddi police station limits, Sudharshan, driver of the bus, noticed heavy smoke issuing out of the engine. He immediately parked the vehicle on the roadside and alerted the teachers and students, who got down the bus quickly. After a while, the entire vehicle caught fire.
“The driver’s timely response saved the lives of the students, and preliminary investigations revealed that the fire broke out in the engine due to technical problems,” the police said.
Because of the incident, traffic on the busy highway was thrown out of gear for more than an hour. The teachers and students of the affected bus got into the other five vehicles and continued the journey. “In total, 298 high school students were going on a trip to Talakadu, but due to the fire incident, they travelled only till Mysuru and returned to the school at 7.30 pm. All students and staff are safe,” a management representative of the school told Express.
Shivanna, a teacher, said, “When heavy smoke started billowing out of the engine, the driver raised an alarm, and we asked the students to get down from the bus. Four teachers were in the bus and they alerted the fire department. There was panic for a while when the fire started spreading.”
A senior police officer said they are investigating to ascertain the exact cause of the fire and have also written to RTO officials. “We have also informed senior officials of the BMTC.”