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A tourist bus caught alight on Tuesday night while travelling along Sydney's Gore Hill freeway.
July 7, 2010 - 10:23AM
A quick-thinking driver and two alert off-duty police officers saved 32 foreign tourists from the smoke, flames and explosions of a burning tour bus in Sydney.
The group were travelling on the Gore Hill freeway at Artarmon about 6.30pm yesterday when the driver noticed an engine fire, prompting him to stop in a breakdown lane and quickly start evacuating his passengers.
Two off-duty police officers, Constable David Mansfield and Senior Constable Bryon Williams, happened to be travelling in a car nearby and decided to follow the bus after noticing smoke coming from its rear.
"As the bus pulled over we got out of the car," Senior Constable Williams told reporters yesterday. "The back of the bus was engulfed in flames and smoke."
By the time the officers got to the front of the bus, passengers were scrambling to get off.
"Obviously there was a lot of chaos," Senior Constable Williams said. "Within minutes the whole bus was alight. There were numerous explosions ... the windows on either side were blowing out with the heat. I thought, if we don't get these people off, there's going to be a big fatality."
None of the passengers were injured. The officers and the bus driver suffered smoke inhalation. All that remains of the bus is a burnt shell.
The freeway at Artarmon was closed between Willoughby Road and Reserve Road for nearly an hour while firefighters fought the blaze, causing traffic problems.
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