10 students hospitalized after balloon explosions at school ceremony

By Le Hoang   September 5, 2023 | 02:22 am PT
10 students hospitalized after balloon explosions at school ceremony
A student suffers from burns following balloon explosions at Yen Phu Primary School in Thanh Hoa Province, September 5, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Son
Ten students at a primary school in central Thanh Hoa Province were hospitalized Tuesday after several balloons filled with hydrogen blew up at the ceremony to begin the new school year.

Students at the Yen Phu Primary School in Yen Dinh District participated in the ceremony in the morning, when teachers prepared colorful balloons as decorations.

After the ceremony ended, teachers tried to cut the wire to let a bundle of 20 balloons go up into the sky. At the time, certain parents and students were rushing in to secure some of the balloons, when a series of explosions occured. Panic ensued at the school ground.

The explosions injured 10 students, with most of them suffering from burns on their arms and faces.

Nguyen Thi Khuyen, head of the Yen Dinh District Department of Education and Training, said the injured students had been taken to the district general hospital for treatment.

"This is an unfortunate accident," she said. The hospital said the students' health have stabilized and the burns were not too severe.

The school's leaders later said the explosions were caused by a male teacher who was walking buy holding a burning cigarettes that accidentally hit the balloons.

Trinh Huu Tung, the school's principal, said school does not allow one to smoke inside its premise.

The teacher with the cigarette, who also suffered burns on his arm, will face punishment from the district authorities.

Tung said the school bought the balloons from outside and they were filled with hydrogen.

"I didn't think that balloons would explode and lead to such severe impacts," Tung said, adding that the school will consider not using balloons in future ceremonies.

Balloons are a common decoration during ceremonies to begin the new school year in Vietnamese schools. Balloons filled with certain gases, like hydrogen, can be dangerous as it is highly flammable and may seep out of the their surface.

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