A bus driver has been hailed as a hero after a double decker carrying school children caught on fire during rush hour on the Perthshire A90.
Emergency services rushed to the shocking scene just west of Inchture after the vehicle became engulfed with flames shortly after 8am.
The school children, en route to Perth High School from Inchture, were taken to the local golf center before being transported to the school on a replacement service.
Videos and pictures show the Stagecoach bus ablaze at the side of the road, with the smoke billowing across the carriageway being visible for thousands around.
Stagecoach confirmed that “all passengers were safely evacuated from the vehicle” thanks to the quick-thinking efforts of the driver.
A number of messages flooded social media thanking the bus driver for leading the children to safety – including the driver’s mother.
Mum Sharon said: “That driver is my son. I’m so proud of him.”
One person wrote: “Well done to the bus driver for getting the kids to safety.”
Another posted: “All [the] kids safely got off [the] bus thanks to [the] amazing driver.”
One grateful resident said: “My granddaughter was on the bus. She said he was amazing.”
Fire crews remained at the scene for a number of hours to bring the blaze under control, with traffic held to a standstill in both directions.
The cause of the fire has yet to be confirmed.
A spokesperson for Stagecoach East Scotland said yesterday: “We can confirm one of our vehicles operating a contract on behalf of Perth and Kinross Council has been involved in an incident on the A90 this morning.
“There are no reported injuries and all passengers were safely evacuated from the vehicle.
“Passengers are being transferred to an alternative service to get to their destination.
“Safety is our number one priority and we will be assisting the investigation into the circumstances involved.
“We are very proud of our driver, who took quick action to ensure everyone was safely evacuated.”
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 8.19am on Thursday, March 24 to reports of a double decker bus on fire on the westbound carriageway of the A90 near Errol junction. There are no reports of any casualties.
“Crews will remain at the scene until the area is made safe.”
Angus Forbes, a councilor for the Carse of Gowrie, said: “Thankfully all children were evacuated to safety in the local golf center and I want to thank the driver for making sure that happened, as well as the owners of the golf center for providing safety for children.
“A replacement bus has been arranged to collect the children.”
Mr Forbes also revealed the council will be conducting a follow-up investigation with Stagecoach about the incident to try and establish the cause.
Fellow ward councillor Alasdair Bailey added: “I was already in touch with the council’s school transport team about reliability issues on this route and am pleased to report that a meeting was already scheduled with Stagecoach prior to today’s incident.
“I’ll be following up after that meeting has happened to ensure that we’ve received suitable reassurances about the future reliability of the vehicles serving our school contracts across Perth and Kinross.”
A PKC spokesperson said: “All pupils and the driver were safely evacuated from the bus to a safe place and we can confirm there are no injuries.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.