Quick-thinking Aylesbury Vale driver saves lives by evacuating bus after smelling burning

A quick-witted bus driver in Aylesbury Vale saved young lives by evacuating his vehicle after noticing a burning smell.

By James Lowson
Friday, 25th March 2022, 3:11 pm

Sakhy Badshah runs a school transport service for the Wingrave Church of England School, one day his engine caught fire.

Thankfully, Sakhy noticed a burning smell and immediately pulled over and evacuated the minibus, getting the eight pupils on board to a place of safety well away from the vehicle.

Sakhy operates the minibus under Bucks Council’s school transport service, the local authority has hailed his quick-thinking.

Minibus driver Sakhy Badshah receiving his Proud of Bucks award from Janet Lee (assistant head teacher at Wingrave Church of England School) and Councillor Steven Broadbent

The council believes the driver’s safeguarding training likely played a role, in allowing him to remain cool and calm under pressure.

He was on the Winslow Road coming into Wingrave when he made the safe call to evacuate the vehicle.

While Sakhy was on the phone to the emergency services a fire took hold in the engine and quickly spread to the vehicle itself.

The fire brigade, police and the Highways Agency all attended the scene. Two fire appliances extinguished the fire, but the minibus was severely damaged.

Sakhy said: “I always check my vehicle before heading out and I know the company always carry out their checks and MOTs but you still have to be ready for the unexpected.

"That’s why I was able to react quickly when I smelt burning and immediately got the pupils safely off the vehicle.”

Wingrave School headteacher Matt Thomson requested assistance from his fellow staff members to get the eight youngsters to school in alternative transport.

The head teacher was keen to get the children to school where staff could care for them and see how they were coping after narrowly avoiding a potentially traumatic scenario.

Sakhy was driving an Express Travel vehicle.

Express Travel’s service records were in order and the vehicle was logged as in complete and in good order, prior to the mystery fire.

With vehicle engine fires – which are thankfully rare – it is difficult to determine the exact mechanical fault that caused the blaze.

In recognition of his fast-thinking Sakhy was given a ‘Proud of Bucks’ award from Bucks Council.

Councillor Steve Broadbent was given the honours of presenting Sakhy with his plaque, the councillor added: “I’m delighted to be able to recognise Mr Badshah’s professionalism with this award.

"His prompt reaction to the unexpected turn of events that day helped to ensure the safety of the pupils in his charge.

“We work closely with all our school transport operators – in this instance Express Travel – to ensure that their staff are well trained and work to the highest standards, as exemplified here by Mr Badshah.”

Janet Lee, Assistant Head Teacher at Wingrave Church of England School was also in attendance to see Sakhy get his award.

She added: “We’re so grateful for Sakhy’s swift and calm action that ensured the safety of the children on the bus. Sakhy’s safeguarding skills are second to none and it’s incredibly reassuring to know how composed and well-trained he is in dealing with situations like this.”