Thirty-one passengers had a narrow escape when the bus they were travelling in caught fire following a collision with a two-wheeler at Attur near Salem on Monday, police said.
The passengers of the private air-conditioned bus got down through emergency and other exits as soon as the vehicle caught fire in the small hours.
The 21-year old motorist was injured in the mishap which occurred when the bus proceeding to Coimbatore from Chennai collided with the two-wheeler. He has been admitted to the government hospital in Salem with fractures in both legs.
Under the impact of the collision, the petrol tank of the motorcycle caught fire and exploded and the blaze spread to the bus, police said.
Bus crew immediately opened all exits, including the emergency doors, enabling the passengers to escape unhurt before the bus was gutted.
However, the belongings of the passengers were gutted in the fire, which was put out by Fire and Rescue service personnel who rushed to the spot.
Police said the driver of the bus has been arrested for IPC offences rash driving and endangering human life.