College team gets off bus just before it explodes on major highway, NC officials say

A group of college athletes escaped injuries after their bus went up in flames Saturday night and exploded on the side of a major interstate in North Carolina, officials said.

The Hampton University track team was on its way home to Virginia following a meet in Columbia hosted by the University of South Carolina, according to the Pirates website.

Smoke was coming out of the back of the charter bus and the driver pulled over along I-95 in Wilson County, WRAL reported.

Wilson County officials reported there were 41 college students on board the bus, and the driver helped get the teamevcacuated, according to a post on its Facebook page.

A student said the team had been off the bus for close to 10 minutes when the vehicle exploded, per WRAL.

No injures were reported, according to the county’s post.

Approximately “100 gallons of diesel fuel” was burned in the fire that was extinguished in less than an hour, WNCN reported.

Another bus was sent from Virginia to get the Hampton track team, WTVD reported.

“The team was safely evacuated with zero student-athletes harmed and the fire was extinguished,” Hampton University spokesman Jim Heath said in a statement reported by WNCN. “They returned home safely in the early hours Sunday morning.”

“Great teamwork ... Job well done! Teamwork!” read the county’s Facebook post.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.