A SPOKESMAN for a bus company denies an eye witness' claims that a vehicle full of school children drove for several miles whilst the engine was on fire.

As fire crews were called, 40 children and teachers from Sir John Barrow Primary School, Ulverston, rushed to exit the smouldering Travellers Choice coach.

The incident took place near Rusland Pool, Haverthwaite, on June 18 and nobody was injured.

David Ralph, of Walney, says he drove behind the flaming bus for three miles, frantically trying to get the driver to pull over.

"I was able to clearly see the flames coming out of the bottom of the engine compartment," said Mr Ralph.

"The driver would not be aware of it.

"I moved as close as possible to the middle of the road and flashed my headlights.

"I was becoming very concerned as the flames were increasing.

The driver didn't pull over until we reached the Rusland Pool Hotel three miles later and I told him the bus was on fire."

Less than five minutes after the children were evacuated the flames fully engulfed the rear of the vehicle.

A spokesman for Travellers Choice denies the coach traveled for three miles whilst on fire but confirmed they have no 'early warning system' on their coaches.

David Chadwick, of Livingstones Solicitors, Grange-over-Sands, witnessed the carnage.

"I saw children walking in the road and a lot of smoke," said Mr Chadwick.

"I heard a couple of really loud explosions as the fire really took hold.

"By the end only the shell of the bus was left."

A replacement bus arrived within 45 minutes and the children, who had been moved to safety at the nearby Rusland Pool Hotel, were taken back to their school.

Helen Pemberton, head of Sir John Barrow Primary School, said: "The fire service and police were quickly on the scene and took charge of the incident while the children were well looked after."