Students rush to escape as school bus explodes in flames in Charlotte

WSOC(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- More than a dozen Charlotte-area students were forced to flee their school bus when the engine exploded and burst into flames on Thursday.

Harrowing video shot minutes after the students escaped shows the entire front half of the bus completely engulfed in flames. After photos show little else but a charred frame of a bus.

 All 16 students onboard and the driver of the bus managed to escape uninjured.

The students from South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina were heading home from school Thursday afternoon when they began to hear clicking sounds in the engine, they told ABC affiliate WSOC. The bus broke down and when the driver smelled smoke, everybody got off.

"That's when the front just exploded," student Timoni Rushing told WSOC.

The school district said it will investigate the cause of the accident, though the vehicle was inspected just two weeks ago, according to WSOC.

"We are all grateful that every student and the driver are safe," superintendent Clayton Wilcox told WSOC in a statement. "The district trains bus drivers and CMS staff to respond in emergency situations and the district is proud of the quick action of this driver and also thankful for the swift cooperation of students on board. The district holds the safety of all our kids and staff as top priority and will conduct a thorough review to ensure the continued safety of our CMS students and staff."

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