The University of Sheffield Men’s Hockey team bus caught fire on the M62 last night just 15 minutes after everyone was evacuated.

All of the mens teams were travelling back from games in Manchester when the blaze erupted.

A spokesperson from the University Hockey club, speaking about all the ruined equipment, said: “We reckon it was worth tens of thousands of pounds.”

At around 7.30pm the back of the bus started filling with smoke and other cars were beeping, indicating something was wrong.

The students informed the driver of these “unnoticeable” warning signals and suggested he should pull over, which he did, and all 68 players got off the bus and went to a grassy area by the side of the motorway.

Josh Darlington, Chair of Selection, said: “Probably 15 minutes later the whole bus was on fire.

“It’s our big club outing. All the men’s teams go to Manchester and it’s the first time for the freshers on an away day. Most of them lost keys on the bus and all of our kit and equipment went up in flames.”

Commending how well the situation was handled, Josh added: “If there was a group of lads to get stuck with on the side of the motorway, whilst our bus is on fire, this would be the lot.”

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Fire crews came to deal with the bus which appeared to have been completely destroyed by the fire.

Joe Kopka, a first team player said: “Despite the blaze and loss of belongings, everyone was in particularly high spirits, with the exception of a few. One poor bloke had left his £800 camera on the bus and was almost in tears.”

Bus Secretary Gavin Haseler and Club Captain Lewis Garland took control and ushered everyone to a safe distance, and then the students started singing hockey songs and chants.

They waited for roughly an hour before a replacement bus arrived to take them back to Sheffield, where many carried on to Roar at the Student’s Union, in true sportsmanlike style.

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Photo credit: James Earley

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