Schoolchildren escape burning bus

A shuttle transporting schoolchildren between Hazyview, White River and Nelspruit burst into flames this morning, reportedly due to a mechanical fault.

The schoolday got off to a dramatic start for a group of children when their transport burst into flames this morning. The minibus was apparently shuttling children from Hazyview to their various schools in White River and Mbombela, when it picked up mechanical problems.

It is suspected that the problem started in the engine, which then caught fire and spread to the rest of the bus.

According to one of the children’s parents, Ms Leoni Schmidt, the incident occurred near the Swartfontein turn-off, on the R40 between White River and Hazyview. She says Ms Santi Muller, a teacher from Rob Ferreira High School, came across the accident and immediately rushed to help. Luckily the driver had moved fast and all the children were safely evacuated before the rest of the bus caught fire.

Muller sprang into action and arranged for a bus from Rob Ferreira High School to come and pick the children up and drop them off at their respective schools.

Both emergency services and the police were on the scene and the fire department ensured that there were no flames left smouldering in the burnt-out minibus.

Schmidt says that her son has been using the shuttle for the past ten years and that the driver and the owner had been very good to both children and parents during this time. Neither of the men were available for comment this morning.

The parents are all very relieved that none of the children were injured and would like to thank Muller and Rob Ferreira High School for their help.

Retha Nel

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