Dozens of schoolchildren and their teachers escaped a coach that burst into flames as it travelled on the M6 north of Rugby.
The incident happened on the M6 northbound at Junction 3a at around 3.40pm on Monday.
A quick-thinking bus driver who spotted the incident pulled onto the hard shoulder and helped evacuate the terrified pupils and staff who scrambled to safety moments before the coach exploded into a fireball.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival crews were greeted by the sight of a double decker bus that had been reduced to smouldering remains.
“Thankfully the 59 children and 7 staff on board, who come from the Black Country, were safely sitting on a second coach that had stopped to offer assistance.
“The Trust would like to pay tribute to the Eavesway Travel of Wigan coach driver who spotted the issue, stopped at the side of the motorway and helped evacuate the children. He then kept them and their teachers safe on his coach while firefighters dealt with the blaze. He then took them to the Motorcycle Museum where they were meeting up with a replacement coach to take them on their way.”
A total of 13 children and the coach driver were assessed for smoke inhalation.
Four 10-year-old girls were taken by ambulance to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for further assessment, though their conditions are not thought to be serious.
The spokesman added: “This could clearly have been a much more serious incident but for the quick actions of the coach drivers, teachers and children.”