A BUS company pulled 19 buses from active service after one of its vehicles lost a rear wheel while transporting passengers.

The incident came to light after a concerned employee of First Essex contacted the Echo about what had happened.

The man, who will remain anonymous, told the Echo: “A wheel came off one of the number 100 buses and this resulted in 19 vehicles being pulled from service.

“Despite a week to rectify the safety critical defect, wheel nuts continued to loosen while being driven.

“It’s absolutely shocking that such an important and safety-critical part of the equipment could come loose to the point that the wheel came off the bus while it was transporting passengers.”

The incident happened on November 23 and there were passengers onboard at the time but nobody was injured by the malfunction.

The number 100 bus service travels between Chelmsford and Grays and it is understood the wheel came off the vehicle in Basildon.

First Essex confirmed the information was accurate but says all relevant safety checks have been done and the vehicles have been returned to circulation.

A spokesman for First Essex said: “We experienced a fault with a wheel component on one of our vehicles and as a precaution we withdrew the remainder of the same vehicle type to undertake further checks.

“After undertaking a thorough investigation, we are now satisfied that the fault found on the one vehicle that was affected has been rectified and all buses are safe to use in service across our Essex bus network.”

They also stated that replacement vehicles were brought in during the investigation and that there was no disruption to services.