Helium-filled balloons explode at Putrajaya fitness event, 16 hurt

12 Oct 2019 / 17:58 H.

PUTRAJAYA: There were anxious moments at Dataran Putrajaya this morning when helium gas inflated balloons used as props for a fitness event exploded, injuring 16 people, including children.

Nine children and seven adults, some of whom were participants and the rest visitors, were hurt during the incident at the tail end of the Education Ministry’s 2019 National Sports Month event.

The victims, aged between four and in their 30s, were rushed to the Putrajaya Hospital where some are still being treated at the Emergency and Trauma Department.

According to Putrajaya district police chief ACP Rosly Hasan, the incident occurred when someone tried to cut the string tied to a bunch of balloons with a cigarette lighter, and the flame struck one of the balloons before the whole bunch exploded.

“Police found a cigarette lighter at the scene, believed to have been the same one that caused the incident,” he said when met at the hospital.

He said the explosion happened at the tail end of the programme when everyone was about to pack up.

The fitness programme was earlier launched by Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching, who also took part in the activities.

Rosly said so far, no one has come forward to report the incident.

He called on the organisers or the victims to lodge a report to enable to police to initiate investigations.

“No arrests have been made either so far,” he said.

Meanwhile, Putrajaya Hospital Emergency and Trauma Department head Dr Khairul Nizam Hassan said none of the victims were in critical condition.

“The victims suffered first and second degree burns. The injury areas vary with burns in the eye-brow, hair and hands. No one suffered total burns,” he said.

Following the incident, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail took time to visit the victims at the hospital, just after she had attended a 2019 Children’s Day event at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Presint 8 (1) Putrajaya.

Wan Azizah, when met at the hospital, said some of the young victims were too traumatised too even speak.

The deputy prime minister, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said the Welfare Department was ready to provide counselling to the victims if needed.

“Such a tragic thing to happen at a fun-filled event,” she said. — Bernama

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