The driver of a Wigan firm of coaches has been commended for his quick thinking after his vehicle burst into flames on the M6 near Birmingham.
Fifty-nine schoolchildren and their teachers escaped from the coach which burst into flames on the side of a busy motorway.
The pupils and seven staff members were evacuated from the bus which had been travelling on the M6 northbound at junction 3a on Monday afternoon.
The ambulance service praised the driver of a second bus for stopping when he realised something was wrong with the coach, and helping to get everyone out of harm’s way.
Ambulance crews and paramedics arrived to the smouldering remains of the double-decker coach near the M42 interchange in Warwickshire. All those on board had already been taken to another bus.
Four 10-year-old girls were taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital but are not thought to be in a serious condition, a spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said.
The driver of the first coach and 13 of the pupils - all from the Black Country - were assessed for smoke inhalation.
The spokesman said: “The trust would like to pay tribute to the Eavesway Travel of Wigan coach driver who spotted the issue, stopped at the side of the motorway and helped evacuate the children.
“He then kept them and their teachers safe on his coach while firefighters dealt with the blaze. He then took them to the Motorcycle Museum where they were meeting up with a replacement coach to take them on their way.”
He added: “This could clearly have been a much more serious incident but for the quick actions of the coach drivers, teachers and children.”