Burning passenger bus causes havoc on N1 near William Nicol off-ramp in Johannesburg
A passenger bus caught fire on the N1 north in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 11 December 2019 survivors with 'nothing but clothes on their backs'. A passenger said the blaze started after the left tyre burst. The police assisted in breaking the windows to allow passengers to exit. The bus, which was travelling from Cape Town to Zimbabwe, burst into flames near the William Nicol off-ramp. It was carrying 44 passengers according to JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar. According to Johannesburg EMS spokesperson Nana Radebe, over 10 passengers have been taken to various hospitals to get treatment for smoke inhalation. Transport department spokesperson Ayanda Allie-Paine, who attended the scene, said no injuries and fatalities were reported although the passengers lost all their goods. Most of them were travelling home for the festive season, after a year of saving up. She said many of the passengers were women and children.
Paramedics trying to get to a burning bus the N1 on Wednesday morning were stuck in traffic and unable to get to the distressed passengers on time due to motorists using the emergency lane.
The long distance bus en route to Zimbabwe from Cape Town went up in flames during peak hour traffic near the William Nicol offramp but different emergency services companies encountered difficulties getting to the scene on time.
According to Emer-G-Med said, the bus caught fire after a front tyre burst. The driver then stopped the bus and as he alighted, the smoke spread to the rest of the vehicle. This resulted in passengers rushing to get off and 17 were injured in the process.
Johannesburg Emergency Services' Nana Radebe said they took longer to get to scene because not only were there cars in the emergency lane but others motorists were watching the fire and therefore slowing traffic. Radebe said people needed to refrain from doing that as it was delaying them from getting to people who need help on time.
Russel Meiring's ER24 confirmed that they also tried to get to the scene but had difficulty getting there.
The bus owner, Ambassador Gabriel Setlhoke, told Allie-Paine that the vehicle had a fire extinguisher but the blaze was just too big. He explained that the bus was serviced and in a good condition with all the necessary permits to cross the border.
Sources: News 24