MYSURU:Fifty children of a private school here had a miraculous escape on Monday when the school bus by which they were returning home caught fire near Vasanthnagar.
Six women teachers, who were in the bus with the children, also escaped unhurt.
Bus driver Madhu Kumar and helper Rajesh risked their lives and saved the children before the bus went up in flames. The schoolbags were destroyed in the blaze.
The children from Navkis Educational Centre School at Bhugathahalli, off Bannur Road, near Vidya Vikas Engineering College, were returning home around 4 p.m. when the accident occurred.
School campus in-charge Mahesh told The Hindu that when the bus reached Naganahalli near Vasanthnagar, the driver noticed smoke from the engine, perhaps triggered by a short circuit.
Before he could assess the reason, the smoke got thicker, forcing him to use the fire extinguisher in the bus, Mr. Mahesh said. When the driver noticed fire in the engine, he swung into action to rescue the children through the emergency door (in the rear) of the bus with the aid of his assistant, Mr. Mahesh said.
While older children jumped out of the door, the smaller ones were assisted in getting down. “The rescue work lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes,” said Mr. Mahesh, based on the driver’s account.
‘Up in flames’
“When I reached the spot, the bus was in flames. By the time the fire personnel reached the spot, 80 per cent of the bus had been destroyed. The fire was later doused,” he said.
The school did not inform the parents about the incident immediately as they felt they would have panicked.
The parents were told that the bus had developed a snag and the children would be dropped soon.