Brisbane bus driver dies after being set on fire by passenger

Manmeet Alisher Image copyright Facebook/Maneet Alisher
Image caption The driver, Manmeet Alisher, was well-known in the community

A bus driver has died in Brisbane, Australia, after a passenger covered him in flammable liquid and set him on fire in what police called a "senseless act" with "no apparent motive".

Six "deeply traumatised" passengers escaped the smoke-filled vehicle with the help of a taxi driver who forced open the back door of the bus.

Paramedics treated 11 people for smoke inhalation and minor injuries.

Police have ruled out terrorism and charged a 48-year-old man.

Anthony Donahue is accused of murder and arson, and 11 counts of attempted murder.

Image copyright ABC
Image caption Queensland Police say there was "no apparent motive" for the attack

The bus driver was identified as Manmeet Alisher, a 29-year-old man well known in Brisbane's Indian community.

Friends described him as a talented singer and dancer who was engaged to be married.

"I've been confronted with many situations, but this is a rare one where there appears to be no apparent motive," Police Supt Jim Keogh told reporters.

"A bus driver, going about doing his business, supporting the community, has had his life taken from him in what is a senseless and needless act."

Image copyright ABC
Image caption Emergency service vehicles line the street where the bus was set on fire

Taxi driver Aguek Nyok helped passengers escape.

He was in the area meaning to get a haircut and kicked the bus door three times before managing to break it open.

"All the people were at the back trying to get out of the bus but they couldn't get out the front because of the flames," he told the Courier-Mail newspaper.

"They couldn't open the back door so I kicked it down and they all came running out.

"It was one of the two: you get the people out or they're going to die."

Mr Nyok said there were three children among the passengers.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said it was "a very, very sad day for the council and the wider community".

Flags will be flown at half-mast across the city on Saturday as sign of respect for Mr Alisher.

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