On June 6, a school bus driver and a construction worker from Mysuru saved the lives of 45 school children and five staffers when the bus carrying them caught fire.
Madhu Kumar, a bus driver with Navkis Educational Centre for the last five years, noticed thick smoke coming out of the engine and immediately told everyone to vacate the bus.
Madhu grabbed hold of the fire extinguisher to bring the fire under control but the smoke increased on his using it.
Fearing that the bus would explode, he immediately started moving children out of the bus with the help of the teachers, older students and his helper.
Photo source: Karnataka Fire Department
Two Class X students opened the emergency exit so the children could move out quickly. But eight to ten young students who were in shock remained seated in the bus.
Ansar Pasha, a bar bender who was working in a nearby farm, also ran towards the bus to help out. On seeing the kids seated in the bus, he immediately began to carry them out one by one and move them away to a safe distance from the bus. He even went back to retrieve their schoolbags and books but by then the bus had been engulfed in flames.
The bus was completely destroyed in the accident. “I smelt a cable burning. I looked into the bonnet to find fire. I yanked out the fire extinguisher from inside the bus and tried to douse it. But the blaze was spreading fast, and reduced the bus to its charred metal frame,” said Madhu Kumar in an interview to Times of India.
Five fire fighters reached the scene and brought the fire under control within 25 minutes.
While school authorities and parents of the children praised Madhu for his swift action and have promised a reward, Ansar too deserves equal recognition in saving the lives of the children.