Driver cheats death as bus catches fire

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Traffic came to a standstill in Durban yesterday when an empty bus caught fire near Westville during the rush-hour.

The bus was travelling on the M13 after dropping passengers off at their respective factories when the incident happened.

It was returning to the rank in the city centre.

The driver reportedly noticed smoke coming from the engine.

Upon a quick check, he realised that the engine was on fire.

Derrick Banks, ER24 spokesman, said the driver quickly stopped the bus.

"No one was injured as the bus was empty at that time and it was on its way to the CBD.

"The incident caused a major traffic backlog, forcing some motorists to change course from the congested freeway to other routes to work," he said.

Themba Shabalala, a mini- bus taxi driver, said he was driving behind the bus when it suddenly pulled off the road.

"I noticed a huge ball of smoke coming from the bus but I never thought that the bus could catch fire.

"Within minutes the bus was engulfed in flames. I had to speed off before the blaze engulfed my minibus taxi, which was full of passengers," he said.

Shabalala said his passengers started to panic and ordered him to pull off the road as they feared that the blaze would also engulf the minibus.