A passenger has praised the actions of a quick-thinking coach driver after smoke billowed from the vehicle.
Sophie Klein was among 30 passengers evacuated from a Mega Bus Plus coach on Penistone Road, Waterloo on Friday.
The charity fundraiser had noticed the driver looked concerned, then moments later told everyone to leave the coach. As they got off acrid smoke was coming from the rear left wheel.
For Sophie it brought back memories of a similar incident when, as a child, she and many more people escaped a coach inferno.
Sophie believes “lightening can’t strike twice” and hailed the Mega Bus Plus driver’s actions. She says she will be contacting the company to pass her thanks on.
The 29-year-old said: “I was on a Mega Bus Plus service coming from London to Huddersfield to visit my parents in Holmfirth for the weekend.
“We were coming past Morrisons at Waterloo and I saw the driver looking a bit puzzled. He put his electric window down and was looking outside.
“He then put the emergency lights on and pulled over and opened the exit doors, stuck his head out and came back on and said ‘I’m afraid I can see smoke and everyone will have to evacuate the bus immediately’.
“I shot off the coach and horrible acrid-smelling smoke was coming from above the rear left wheel.”
The coach driver ushered everyone away from the vehicle and called 999.
As Sophie was near to her arrival destination she called her dad to collect her and went to mum and dad Ian and Jane Parker’s home in Holmfirth.
But it reminded her of a coach trip when, aged nine or ten, she was going on a Boys Brigade trip to the South of France with Moldgreen United Reformed Church.
They had got as far as Leicester when the seats became hot and the driver evacuated the coach,
“A few minutes later the coach was a fireball,” Sophie said. “It went up in flames and it was lucky nobody was seriously injured. It could have been horrific had it not been for the driver acting quickly.
“When the incident happened on Friday I couldn’t believe something similar could happen again. It’s not put me off travelling by coach – I don’t believe you should avoid anything because you’re afraid.
“The driver was very calm, dealt with it quickly and in a professional manner. These things happen.”
A spokeswoman for megabusplus.com said: “The driver of one of our vehicles travelling from London to York on Friday noticed smoke coming from the rear wheels of the vehicle as it arrived in Huddersfield.
“The driver pulled over and ensured all passengers safely exited the bus before calling the emergency services. A replacement coach was arranged to allow customers to complete their journey.
“Safety is our absolute priority and the driver used his training to follow the correct protocol during the incident. We are sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused customers and we are looking into the cause of the issue.”