A British model narrowly escaped from her malfunctioning MINI Cooper mere seconds before it exploded in a fireball.
23-year-old blond model Antonia Knowles, from Berkshire, UK, reported that she was driving home from a shopping trip when her MINI started making a strange clunking sound. She pulled over and phoned a garage, who agreed to bring it in. That's when things got interesting.
On the way to the garage, the vehicle caught fire, with black smoke and flames billowing from the engine. She pulled over again and jumped out, and within seconds the 2005 MINI burst into flames right there on the side of the road in Burnham.
The fire was eventually put out an hour later, and the road remained closed for four days as the hot fire actually melted the tarmac.
Antonia, a physiotherapist, reported seeing flames coming out of the bonnet as she was driving and a warning light on the dashboard.
‘It took me ten seconds or so to pull over - it was the longest ten seconds of my life. It was horrendous. I got out of the car and just as I put my foot on the pavement it blew."
"The whole car literally burst into flames."
Ms. Knowles is a minor celebrity in the UK. She is known as the woman who appeared drunk on a live Celebrity Big Brother show in January, while wearing a distinctive red jumpsuit. She says that the only thing in the car that survived was her Mulberry handbag in the boot.
According to sources, Ms. Knowles’ insurance company has not turned over any evidence from the incident to BMW or MINI offices for further investigation. MINI offered her some cash compensation, but without being able to conduct further analysis, refused to take full liability.
There has been a recall of some 2006 and later MINIs due to an electrical fault with the vehicles’ water pumps, however with no reports of injuries due to the fault and only one incidence of fire in all of the UK.
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