A quick-thinking driver is being credited with potentially saving several lives after a bus full of elderly Australian tourists caught fire Monday afternoon on Highway 401, near Port Hope.

The bus was on its way to Ottawa when it burst into flames. Just moments earlier, the driver noticed smoke in the back and immediately pulled over, safely getting about 50 passengers off the bus.

“Our driver was able to utilize his training that we provide…and really performed very well under an extremely stressful situation,” said Dean Wright, General Manager of Pacific Western.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation but a truck driver says he saw the bus blow a tire just before the flames erupted.

The bus was totally destroyed and the fire was so intense part of the road was damaged and needs repaving.