Eight people in Kep province were injured and hundreds more found themselves running for cover an hour before the New Year when about 100 fireworks were set off prematurely, sending burning embers and live explosives hurtling at spectators.
Ung Sam Ol, provincial police chief, said the incident happened at around 11pm on Sunday night as spectators waited on the beach for the midnight display.
“There is no cause for the explosion; [it was] not terrorism, but because of carelessness” of those responsible for fireworks, he said. “There were about 100 fireworks [that went off], but the eight people who were injured were not in a severe condition.”
Sean Dyna, deputy provincial police chief, said the fireworks were being prepared by a company a few hundred metres away from the beach where the spectators were. He said he didn’t know the name of the company.
“There was a technical error,” he said. “It did not cause a serious accident, but it made [spectators] panic. [The company] was careless and there was a technical error by the [person] managing them … Maybe they were attached to each other, is my conclusion. I think he wanted to test them because it was already 11pm, but when he tested them, they all exploded.”
A video of the incident posted to Facebook showed chaos at the scene as a series of explosions on the ground sent burning matter and live fireworks flying through air.
Nuon Samneang Satya, director of the provincial referral hospital, said seven of the eight injured were brought to the hospital for treatment, and all of them were released this morning.
“Most of them got burns,” he said, adding that one woman, the most seriously injured, had gunpowder in her leg wound, although the injury wasn’t life-threatening.
See footage from Facebook here:
Posted by Heng Sam Oeurn on Sunday, 31 December 2017