A driver fled for his life when his bus burst into a fireball.

Firefighters battled the blaze for nearly an hour as thick smoke billowed from the vehicle.

Witnesses described how plumes of black smoke filled the air before the bus driver pulled over and escaped.

Onlookers called the emergency services as flames engulfed the entire bus at the Calmore roundabout on Salisbury Road, Totton.

The road was closed into last night as motorists faced traffic chaos on the busy A36.

The £100,000 singledecker Blue Star vehicle, which is just five years old, was not in service and no passengers were on board at the time.

Dad-of-two Martin Cottle, 43, of Testwood Crescent, said: “There was thick black heavy smoke coming down on the houses and burnt bits were coming down from the sky onto vehicles.

“I can’t even imagine if it had been full of passengers.”

The cause of the fire was last night unknown.