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Revellers struck by tragedy

A police officer examines the body of Na Kry Daro
A police officer examines the body of Na Kry Daro, who was horrifically killed in a fireworks explosion yesterday. Heng Chivoan

Revellers struck by tragedy

A university student was killed and at least seven people were injured when a canister full of fireworks exploded in Chroy Changvar district last night, scattering pieces of metal and sidewalk into a crowd and ending the otherwise joyful 10th anniversary of King Norodom Sihamoni’s coronation on a tragic note.

Police and city officials described a misfire of one among several canisters dug into the ground on the eastern bank of the Tonle Sap, facing the Royal Palace near the Sokha hotel. Instead of shooting straight into the sky, the canister exploded after the fuse for the fireworks inside it was lit.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said the victims were all bystanders there to watch the event, and that they were hit despite being kept back from the canisters by a barrier installed for safety reasons.

"The fireworks did not shoot up to the sky,” Dimanche said, adding that they “blew out of the gun” and “fell on those bystanders”, he said, describing the shrapnel-like effect.

He also said that it was the last round of fireworks for the evening.

The victim, who died on the spot after the deadly explosion ripped through his side, was named Na Kry Daro, a 22-year-old student at Setec University from Kandal province, according to Yeun Chantha, deputy chief of Chroy Changvar district.

Among the injured, two sustained serious wounds, Chantha said, and they are receiving treatment at local hospitals. The rest, including a 12-year-old boy who hurt his knee, are also being taken care of by medical staff.

Kheng Tito, a spokesman for the National Military Police, said that primary information shows that it was an accident caused by a “technical problem.”

“According to information I got from people on the ground, it happened because of a technical problem. This is the preliminary information. Now the police are investigating the cause of the incident,” Tito said.

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