A group of Japanese tourists got a little more than just a view of the flowers Thursday, Aug. 2 when their tour bus caught fire on the way to Butchart Gardens.
According to Cpl. Pat Bryant of the Central Saanich Police, just after 1 p.m., as the bus made a turn off the Pat Bay Highway onto Keating X Road, the driver and passengers on the bus noticed the smell of smoke.
As the bus crested the top of the hill before the intersection of Keating X Road and Central Saanich Road, it became apparent that the bus was on fire.
“The driver stopped the bus at the intersection and was able to get all 20 passengers off before the bus was engulfed,” said Bryant. “The cause of the fire is suspected to be mechanical and we have no reason to believe it was anything suspicious.”
The Central Saanich Volunteer Fire Department quickly controlled the blaze and crews from Peninsula Towing and the municipality of Central Saanich as well as the Central Saanich Police were on hand to clean up after the fire and direct traffic at the busy intersection.
The bus, a Hana Coach Ltd. bus out of Coquitlam operated by TourClick.ca, was completely gutted by the fire and had to be towed from the scene.
Passengers from the burned-out bus were picked up by another coach and were taken to their destination safely.