A young family fled for their lives when the bus they were travelling on burst into flames on the A77.
Bryan McPhie and Denise McMaster were returning from a Christmas shopping trip with their baby daughter Sophie last Saturday when smoke started billowing into the busyvehicle.
Within minutes of escaping the terrifying scene, the family watched in horror as the flames engulfed the X16 East Kilbride to Ayr bus. Bryan, 34, revealed that he smelled smoke as soon as the 6.15pm service started moving.
At first, he dismissed it as exhaust fumes. But, 20 minutes into the journey, the smell grew stronger at the rear of the bus.
And when he turned around to investigate, he was horrified to see smoke pouring out from under the back seats.
He recalled: “We were sitting in the second back row and the bus driver didn’t know what was happening, so I said to Denise that I was going to tell him.
“By the time I got to the front of the bus, I couldn’t see Denise or Sophie for the smoke and I told the driver he had to pull over.
“When I got back to Denise, there were flames coming out from under the seats.”
When the driver was alerted to the fire, he immediately pulled on to the hard shoulder and the passengers, some of whom were disabled, started getting off the Stagecoach bus.
Denise, who is six months pregnant, added: “By the time we got off, the whole back half of the bus was on fire.
“It just happened so fast.”
The bus was totally gutted by the blaze, and the cause of the fire remains a mystery to operator Stagecoach.
The firm’s West Scotlant managing director, Edward Hodgson, explained: “I can confirm that one of our vehicles on the X16 route was extensively damaged by a fire on Saturday evening.
“The driver and passengers were all safely evacuated from the vehicle in question without injury. Our technical staff are currently investigating the vehicle to find the cause of the fire.”