A trip home from a music competition turns scary for students, when their charter bus ends up on fire following a mechanical issue on Highway 258 near Richlands.
Suzie Ulbrich with Onslow County Schools says that it happened early Sunday morning, just before 2 a.m. Ulbrich says that 7th and 8th grade band, chorus and orchestra students from New Bridge Middle School were coming home from Busch Gardens following a music competition, when one of the buses had a mechanical issue.
Officials say that the driver of the bus, chaperones and teachers evacuated the band students off of the vehicle and to safety. Shortly thereafter, officials say the bus became engulfed in flames.
WITN spoke with Derek Smith about the incident on Monday. Smith's son plays the clarinet and watched as the bus went up in flames.
"He told his mom he was going to have trouble sleeping," says Smith.
The fire started in the rear engine of the bus, but the cause is unknown, according to officials.
Ulbrich says the only loss was the bus and a great deal of the band's instruments and student's property.
The charter bus company that was used is Goldsboro Tours, according to Ulbrich.
Officials say the band did earn Grand Champion status on the trip, however their trophies were lost in the fire.