Melbourne, Australia – In a terrifying incident on Monday evening, a bus traveling on Melbourne’s Westgate Bridge burst into flames, leaving three individuals fortunate to have escaped with their lives. The incident occurred just days after train services resumed on nine major lines, which had temporarily increased the number of commuters relying on buses.
Emergency services rushed to the outbound lane of the bridge shortly after 6 pm, where they discovered the engulfed bus, believed to be the 232 service traveling from Altona North to the City. Thankfully, the driver and the two passengers had managed to evacuate the vehicle before the flames consumed it entirely. Firefighters arrived promptly and extinguished the blaze within 20 minutes of their arrival.
The cause of the fire, which involved a diesel-powered bus, is still under investigation, and the origin of the fire remains unclear.
Although there were no injuries reported, one passenger who claims to have been onboard shared a chilling account of the incident, revealing the potentially catastrophic outcome if it had occurred during the previous week. Due to track works, train services on the Cranbourne, Pakenham, Sunbury, Upfield, Frankston, Craigieburn, Werribee, Williamstown, and Stony Point lines had been replaced by bus services, resulting in crowded buses, particularly during peak hours.
According to the passenger’s Reddit post, the bus was en route with multiple passengers when a car behind them started honking. Suddenly, the bus filled with smoke, prompting the driver to bring it to a halt and order an immediate evacuation. In the panic that ensued, the passenger injured her knee while attempting to exit through the rear door, which was unresponsive. She eventually realized the front door was open, and moments after everyone had exited, the bus erupted in flames, emitting fiery explosions and eventually melting entirely.
Reflecting on the ordeal, the passenger expressed gratitude for the fortuitous circumstances. “Any other day, I think we would’ve died,” she remarked. With the bus operating at reduced capacity due to the temporary train rerouting, the passengers managed to escape in time.
The fire caused significant traffic disruptions, leading to the closure of outbound lanes on the Westgate Bridge and resulting in extensive delays. Motorists were advised by VicRoads to avoid the area until later in the night when the lanes gradually reopened.
Kinetic, the bus company responsible for the vehicle, commended the driver’s swift action in evacuating the three passengers and himself, emphasizing that no injuries were reported. They are cooperating with authorities to determine the cause of the fire.
Despite the terrifying experience and her existing distaste for buses, the passenger mentioned her forthcoming return to bus travel later in the week due to work obligations. She acknowledged the necessity but confessed, “I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. I honestly already really hated buses, now even more!”
Fortunately, most train services have resumed just in time for the start of term three, following the completion of track removal works over the past two weeks. Additionally, the Victorian Department of Transport announced the addition of over 180 extra train and tram services to the public transport timetable for AFL matches and the Metro Comic Con at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
Andrew Crook, the department’s spokesperson, advised commuters to factor in ongoing works on the Frankston line until August due to level crossing removal in Glen Huntly and suggested checking the PTV app for updates before traveling.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of transportation safety and the need for continued vigilance in ensuring the well-being of commuters.
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