A POLICE motorcyclist was taken to hospital after he helped rescue James Sheahan Catholic High School students from a burning bus yesterday.
About 3.10pm, a police officer attached to the Traffic and Highway Patrol Motorcycle Response Team was travelling westbound on the M2 motorway in northwest Sydney, when he noticed a bus travelling in front of him had caught fire.
The 45-year-old male bus driver safely stopped the vehicle in the shoulder lane of the motorway.
The police officer and the driver were able to assist the 51 school children and teachers in evacuating the bus safely.
All passengers and the officer were taken to a nearby bus terminus, where they were treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation.
None of the passengers required hospitalisation.
The police officer was taken to Westmead Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. He was released yesterday evening.
The events leading up to the fire are being investigated by the Office of Transport Safety.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said the officer was on duty as a part of Operation Freeflow.
Operation Freeflow targets major arterial roads around Sydney where highway patrol vehicles are placed at regular intervals with the aim of increasing traffic flow and detecting people breaking the road rules.
"Yesterday's bus fire demonstrates why the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command is committed to Operation Freeflow," Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.
"It is all about having police on our major arterial roads at key times of the day.
"We were able to assist the bus driver and children promptly, potentially staving off a more serious outcome."