Saturday night, 41 student-athletes from Hampton University's track and field team fled a charter bus engulfed in flames just before it was destroyed.

According to WRIC, the frightening ordeal happened around 10:15 p.m. while the HU students were on their way back from a competition in Columbia, South Carolina. 

As they headed north, one student said smoke coming from the back of the bus led the bus driver to pull over.

"In 10 minutes of everybody evacuating, that's when the bus quickly got engulfed in flames," the student said.


Students, personnel and the bus driver all watched as the bus turned into a charred metal skeleton. Traffic was reportedly directed away from the fire, with state troopers blocking off one lane.

The team was temporarily welcomed at the local Hunt High School in Wilson until a new bus arrived a few hours later to take them back to their final destination.

WJLA reports 100 gallons of diesel fuel in the bus led to difficulty extinguishing the blaze. It reportedly took firefighters 30 minutes to put out the fire, according to the Wilson County Emergency Management Director Gordon Deno.

The Wilson County Emergency Management team praised the bus driver for doing an "excellent job" thinking clearly in a tough situation.

University spokesman Jim Heath released a statement on Sunday saying no one was hurt.

"The team was safely evacuated with zero student athletes harmed and the fire was extinguished," the statement read. "They returned home safely in the early hours Sunday morning."

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