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A mini-bus bus burst into flames near Choiseul Saturday afternoon, seconds after passengers frantically escaped.
The bus was on its way from Vieux Fort with 14 passengers when a tyre blew, causing it to catch fire in the vicinity of Choiseul.
All passengers on board, including the driver Brian Joseph, escaped unhurt.
Joseph told St Lucia News Online (SNO) that after the front left tyre of his mini-bus blew he tried to control the vehicle and avoided hitting anything.
However, Joseph said because the vehicle was still moving at a fast rate, a friction with the axle and the road resulted in the vehicle catching fire.
The bus driver said he had to prise the door open to allow the passengers to escape.
“All I could have done is get out and help the passengers to get out,” Joseph explained.
The bus was engulfed in flames seconds after.
Joseph said the Fire Service responded promptly to put the fire out, but by that time, most of the vehicle was already burnt. He is nevertheless thankful that neither he nor his passengers were hurt during the tragic incident.
An eyewitness told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that about 5:15 p.m. she was passing through Choiseul when she noticed a bus “coming towards our car with a line of fire following it”.
The driver stopped the bus when he noticed the fire, but by then the back of the tire was already aflame, the eyewitness said.
The passengers frantically fled the bus through the windows and doors.
“There was this girl who jumped out of the window head first. We sat in the car amazed. Less than a minute after, the whole bus was engulfed. The driver did the sign of the cross over and over. He kept walking up and down the street, surprised at what had happened,” the eyewitness added.
“Soon after traffic was backed up and the whole bus was engulfed in flames. The fire truck came but the bus was already gone (destroyed),” the eyewitness said.