England

M6 coach fire: Driver helps children escape Coleshill blaze

The coach in flames Image copyright Phillip Wilson
Image caption Fifty-nine children were on the coach, which burst into flames on the M6

A coach driver has described the "dramatic" moment he helped 59 pupils and seven teachers escape a burning bus on a motorway.

Paul Bingham spotted the blaze on the M6 near Coleshill, Warwickshire, and pulled up to help the stricken party.

He then transported the youngsters to the National Motorcycle Museum, where parents were waiting.

Thirteen people were treated for smoke inhalation - with four 10-year-old girls taken to hospital.

Nobody was seriously hurt in the fire, which remains unexplained.

More on this and other Warwickshire stories

Mr Bingham was on his way back to his coach company's headquarters in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, when he saw the group, from a school in the Black Country, standing on the hard shoulder.

He said "small flames were coming out the rear at the bottom of the engine" before the bus was eventually engulfed.

Pictures later showed the vehicle reduced to smouldering remains.

Image copyright West Midlands Ambulance Service
Image caption The vehicle was reduced to smouldering remains

"I was there with an empty coach, so it all fell into place," he said.

"I did nothing really. I just parked my bus and said 'jump on'. I got 60-odd people away from the scene and allowed them to sit in comfort."

Mr Bingham said he was grateful the children hadn't seen the extent of the fire, as that would've been more "stressful" for them.

He added that his bosses at Eavesway Travel told him to "crack on" and "deal with it".

The four girls taken to Birmingham Children's Hospital were not thought to be in a serious condition, West Midlands Ambulance Service said.

The ambulance service commended Mr Bingham for his actions.

A spokesman said: "We would like to pay tribute to the Eavesway Travel of Wigan coach driver who spotted the issue, stopped at the side of the motorway and helped evacuate the children."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites