Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Saturday, 21 June 2008 17:40 UK

Schoolchildren in bus fire drama

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Footage of the bus fire was captured by 3rd year pupil Cameron Drennan

More than 60 children were led to safety when fire broke out on board their bus as they travelled home from a school trip on Friday night.

The youngsters, from Grange Academy in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, were returning from Alton Towers in Staffordshire when the fire started just after 2300 BST.

Police said the driver led the children and teachers off the 72-seater double decker on the M74 near Beattock.

No-one was hurt and an investigation into the cause is now under way.

The bus was at full capacity, with 61 children and seven staff.

Pupils were taken off the bus onto the hard shoulder

Four fire engines went to the scene at Junction 16 near Beattock services, north of Dumfries, to tackle the blaze and traffic was restricted to one lane in each direction on the motorway.

A second bus was sent to pick up the school party and take them to safety.

The driver managed to get all the children out of the bus and onto the hard shoulder after he had heard a loud bang and pulled over.

Sergeant John Adams, of Dumfries and Galloway Police, told BBC Radio Scotland: "The motorway hard shoulder isn't really a safe place at the best of times, particularly at night, and even more so when both carriageways were completely engulfed in black smoke and the double decker bus completely on fire.

"It would be a very scary place to be for the kids and it's a credit to them and their teachers and the driver that they all got off safely."

An East Ayrshire Council spokeswoman said: "One of the kids reported a smell of burning from the bus so they were taken off and put on the reserve bus."

Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue said the bus suffered 100% damage.


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