Hydrogen balloon explosion injures 10 in central Vietnam

By Hoang Tao   September 15, 2016 | 10:25 pm PT
Hydrogen balloon explosion injures 10 in central Vietnam
Three children suffer serious burns from the balloon explosion. Photo by VnExpress/Quang Ha
A witness said two young men were trying to burn through the ropes when the inferno erupted.

A Mid-Autumn Festival party quickly turned into a disaster at an outdoor playground in the central province of Quang Binh yesterday after a pack of hydrogen-filled balloons exploded, injuring ten people. Three of the victims were children.

The victims, aged 4 to 33, were hospitalized after the incident, and six are currently in intensive care. Nguyen Thi Thanh Diep, 33, suffered third-degree burns, while five others suffered second-degree burns to the body, face and arms.

"Some patients with lesser injuries have received treatment and been discharged, while others need further treatment," said Doctor Tran Van Son, deputy head of the emergency department at the Vietnam – Cuba Dong Hoi Hospital.

A witness said she saw two young men using a lighter to burn the ropes that were tying the balloons together, but the pack caught fire and exploded, causing chaos at the scene.

The incident has raised safety concerns nationwide regarding the use of hydrogen and other flammable gases in balloons. Inert gases such as helium are generally used as a safer alternative to highly flammable hydrogen, but are more expensive.

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