KURNOOL: As many as 40 passengers had a miraculous escape when the bus of a private operator in which they were seated suddenly went up in flames at a toll plaza on National Highway No-44 near Amukathadu at Dhone in the district early Sunday. According to police, the fire broke out at 3.30 a.m. when the driver stopped the SRS Travels bus to pay toll tax and also to allow tea break for the passengers.
The bus, which arrived at the toll plaza at a very high speed, had a heated up engine which ignited when the diesel tank, for some reason, began leaking. The bus was on its way to Bengaluru from Hyderabad. Immediately, the fuel tank blew up, engulfing the entire bus in flames.
Hearing the sound of the fuel tank explosion and the watching the smoke and flames leaping all around, the passengers hurriedly got down from the bus with their hand bags. Their luggage in the luggage compartment underneath the bus and suitcases inside the bus were reduced to cinders.
Though the toll plaza staff tried to put down the flames, they could not succeed. As the flames began devouring the bus, the staff, realising the futility of fighting the flames themselves, called the fire tenders but they took nearly half an hour to reach the spot from Dhone by which time, what remained was only a tangled mass of iron frame of the bus.