4:34pm: Two bus drivers grabbed fire extinguishers and put out a fire that broke out on the back of a school bus this afternoon.
The driver of the school bus heard the kids yelling and saw smoke coming from the back of the vehicle and pulled over into the shoulder on the Mount Maunganui side of the Harbour Bridge to get all the kids off the bus.
The driver said a bus coming up behind stopped and the driver got their fire extinguisher, kept in all buses, out to help put out the small fire at the back of the bus.
Fire services and police were quick to the scene.
Meanwhile the students from the bus, from Bethlehem College, ran to the Bridge Marina carpark to wait for another ride.
Some parents came to pick their children up and a second bus arrived to the marina carpark to pick the remaining children up.
Fire services left the scene and the bus has been towed from the shoulder of the Harbour Bridge.
EARLIER: School children have had to be evacuated from a bus which appeared to have caught fire this afternoon.
The bus was parked on Hewletts Rd near the Tauranga Harbour Bridge. The incident has caused significant traffic congestion, with Mount Maunganui-bound motorists backed up to Tauranga city.
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A passer by told the Bay of Plenty Times he could see police cars and a fire engine.
There was smoke billowing out of a school bus, he said.
The man said he could see school children in uniform filing along the bridge on foot. They appeared to be high school students, dressed in blue uniform, he said.
A reporter at the scene said police were at the incident and children are waiting on a field near the Tauranga Marina car park.
The reporter said the police and the driver were looking at the bus, which appeared to be burned at the rear.
Parents could be seen picking up their children.
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