Passenger describes panic after coach caught fire on A11 near Wymondham

The coach was badly damaged by the fire.

The coach was badly damaged by the fire. - Credit: Archant

A passenger has described how a 'sudden wave of panic' spread through a coach full of day-trippers when it caught fire on the A11.

None of the 71 people on board the coach, which was taking families from Luton back from a day in Great Yarmouth, were hurt after the blaze broke out near Wymondham at about 5.45pm on Friday.

Shamshad Begum, who was travelling on the upper deck with family, said a car overtook the coach to alert the driver to the problem, and added: 'By this point the smoke could be seen by us and there was a sudden wave of panic among the passengers, people hurriedly left the coach many leaving their belongings behind.

'The smoke was very thick, this affected a lot of the passengers' breathing, some even being sick.'

Deaf passengers were unaware of what was happening, but others used sign language to communicate.

Shamshad Begum said the couple in the car that first raised the alarm stayed on the scene, allowing elderly people to rest in their vehicle, and added: 'This incidence showed us the decency and care that lies within people; along with the couple I just mentioned, a local doctor and her daughters were also quick to come to our aid, supplying us with water and asking if anyone required any medical attention. This was greatly appreciated by all the passengers as most of us left our things on the coach.

They added: 'The people on the coach helped comfort one another, ensuring no one was hurt; they showed selflessness allowing children to evacuate the coach first. By the end of the journey we were on first-name basis with each other, exchanging addresses and numbers.'

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Three Star Coaches, which operated the service, said it was still investigating the cause.

Were you on the coach? Email

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