CARNEY’S POINT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Passengers on board a Greyhound bus were forced to run for safety when the bus suddenly burst into flames on the New Jersey Turnpike.

“When you look at that, we could have all died,” one rider told CBS2’s Meg Baker. “We could have all died.”

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The bus quickly became a charred shell before the passenger’s eyes.

“You could see the fire going up and up and up, and people were screaming,” said another rider.

Passengers’ cellphone video show the flames, the black smoke billowing into the air. Fifty passengers plus the driver were on board around 5:15 a.m. Friday when the New York to Richmond, Virginia bus caught fire.

It happened on the New Jersey Turnpike in Carney’s Point Township, not far from Wilmington, Delaware.

Passengers said the fire started in the back.

“I just heard somebody scream ‘flames,’ and everybody started screaming,” said Karlissa Jackson. “People were trampling over each other, people were climbing over the seats.”

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“I hear ‘pop pop,'” described Glendora Riley. “I thought somebody flipped and started shooting in the back. And I thought my god there’s children in the back.”

“I see the mother of my child jump up out of her chair grab the car seat and started running,” said Corey Adams. “I looked to my right and I just see fire.”

Everyone got out of the bus. For hours they congregated on the curb of the rest stop near the wreckage. Some luggage was salvaged but for many, their cash, laptops, medicine, baby formula, was burned and gone.

“She’s hungry now and she doesn’t have anything to eat,” said Adams about his daughter.

“I am diabetic, I have medical problems,” said Lester Bell. “All my medicine is lost.”

“It’s all gone,” said Jackson. Everything’s gone.”

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Passengers said the bus driver tried to help, but there was only so much he could do. For four hours they waited for the replacement bus, which eventually left shortly after 9:30 a.m.