London: Armed police and dozens of emergency vehicles closed off a section of the M6 highway in both directions on Thursday following an incident on a passenger bus in central England.
Police said they were not conducting a counterterrorism operation, but details on the incident at the Weeford toll plaza in the West Midlands, 116 miles (187 kilometers) north of London, were sketchy as the morning stretched on. Britain's Ministry of Defense confirmed it was providing support to the police - including an army bomb disposal team - "under routine military assistance procedures."
Dozens of fire trucks, police and emergency vehicles were on the scene, where the bus was pulled over onto a shoulder of the highway.
Aerial footage showed what appeared to be passengers sitting on the ground in a marked-off square, spaced apart from each other.
Dog handlers roamed about, and someone in a hazardous materials suit was seen entering the bus and searching around the seats with a flashlight.
Megabus, the company that operates the bus, confirmed it was helping police with regard to "an allegation made against a passenger" on one of its buses en route from Preston to London. It said the bus had 48 passengers booked for travel and was due to arrive at London's Victoria Station at 0955 GMT (5:55 a.m. EDT).
The BBC, citing unidentified sources, reported that the incident involved a passenger who poured a substance into a box, causing fumes.
Story first published:
July 05, 2012 16:48 IST