TAUNGGYI - A fire balloon released at 1:15 am yesterday crashed into the fire balloon competition ground on the second day of the Fire Balloon Festival in Shan State's capital Taunggyi, injuring fourteen people, according to the authorities.
The Nya Mee Kyee (night fireworks) fire balloon titled 'Khun Tan Mee' caught on fire 100 feet above the ground after it was released into the air and crashed into the ground.
Ten men and four women watching the balloon competition received burned marks and injuries from the fireworks and are currently receiving medical treatment as in-patients at Sao San Tun Hospital.
Among the injured, two men and a woman are in serious conditions while the rest of them only received minor injuries. There hasn't been any death report up to 4 pm yesterday, according to the authorities.
"The fire balloon crashed after its upper body opened at 100 feet above ground. When the fireworks started, the wick and gunpowder coil fell down and the gunpowder exploded on the ground.
This happens every year so our judging panel has always the audience using the loudspeaker. We often announce to the audience not to go inside the competition ground.
The people don't follow the rules and went inside. That's why many of them were injured," said a member of the judging panel for the fire balloon competition.
The Taunggyi Fire Balloon Festival is an annual festival that draws huge crowds of local and foreign visitors.
The festival runs from October 30 to November 6 and features a fire ballroom competition in three categories: day-time balloons in animal shapes, Sein Nar Pan (diamond earpiece) balloons and Nya Mee Kyi (night fireworks) balloons laden with firecrackers.