Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valley-bound tourist bus catches fire

Australian passengers transferred to different vehicle

Express Staff Writer

Nine people escaped from a Sun Valley Express bus before it was engulfed in flames on Interstate 84 near Boise on Saturday.

The 24-passenger Krystal coach with eight Australians and a driver on board was traveling eastbound from the Boise Airport to Sun Valley around 1 p.m. when passengers noticed smoke in the cabin, said Richard Dowling, Sun Valley Express general manager. Shortly after the driver pulled over and people collected their baggage and exited the bus, flames broke out in the vehicle.

"The passengers and driver did everything perfect," Dowling said.

The incident occurred just east of Boise near a rest stop. Passengers waited less than 20 minutes for another Sun Valley Express bus to pick them up; the driver had just finished a shift and was still at the company's bus yard in Boise.

The cause of the fire is unknown, Dowling said.

The 1999 bus had been serviced two weeks before the incident and the required maintenance records were up to date, he said.

"It's not something that was caused by negligence or poor service," he said. "The good news is nobody was injured and nobody was held up for a long time."

The bus, however, was destroyed.

"It is a huge, total loss," he said.

Rebecca Meany:

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