Crowd panics as fireworks explode

Updated: 2012-10-15 08:09

By Zhang Kun in Shanghai (China Daily)

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The fireworks exploded with golden sparks and flames, but the spectacle occurred not above the crowd, but on the ground, in the middle of it.

Feng Jianan, 26, witnessed the accident at the annual Hangzhou firework show.

"I was sitting on the second row in front of the river, and the fireball dropped from the sky to our left and landed somewhere behind us," Feng said on Sunday.

"We are safe, but many people sitting in the back rows were injured. A young woman's jeans were burned and people screamed and rushed to escape. The ground was burned black."

Feng, who works in human resources, received a ticket to the firework show, valued at 150 yuan ($24), as a gift from a friend.

The show started at 7:45 pm, and the accident happened at 8:05 pm, causing the audience to rush to the exits. Fortunately, the panicked crowd was not large enough to become dangerous as people tried to leave the venue. Feng criticized the event for its poor organization.

"Too many policemen were guarding the gate, but only a few of them were in the audience to keep order," Feng said.

"The injured people were taken to hospital, and those of us who were uninjured just left on our own. We had to walk a long way to the bus stop, as no taxis were available near the area because of traffic control," she said.

Feng said she has watched the annual firework show in Hangzhou since 2010 and does not support calls for the event to be canceled following Saturday's incident. Feng said she hopes the event can continue to be held, but with improvements to safety.

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