Malaysia: Three critical after balloons burst at Terengganu beach event

SHARANPAL SINGH RANDHAWA The Star 21 Oct 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: Three people are in critical condition and 15 others were injured after a bunch of about 150 hydrogen-filled balloons burst at an event here Friday.

Police said another 12 people sustained light injuries in the incident at noon at the Batu Buruk beach where the balloons were used for the "Walk for The Blind" event held in conjunction with the World Sight Day.

It is believed that the incident took place after a man used a lighter to undo the knot holding the bunch of balloons. He apparently was trying to help his friend make several children happy by giving them balloons.

Suddenly, the whole bunch of balloons burst, throwing some to the ground with burn injuries.

One of the victims, Nurifikin Kamal Iqbal, 31, who was rushed to the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital, had more than 60% burns on her body.

Her husband Raja Fadli Raja Muhamad, 33, said his wife, a friend and a child were near where the balloons burst.


30 injured after balloons explode at public event
The Star 22 Oct 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: A bunch of gas-filled balloons exploded at a public event here, injuring at least 30 people including children.

The incident took place at about 11.30am yesterday at Dataran Batu Burok during the Walk for the Blind event when an official tried to release the tethered balloons with a cigarette lighter.

Kuala Terengganu police chief ACP Idris Abd Rafar said police received a report on the incident and were conducting an investigation.

“The incident happened during the World Sight Day event orga­nised by the Terengganu Health Department.

“Many of the people were injured in the head, face and hands. They were taken to the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital,” he said. — Bernama

Terengganu may ban gas filled balloons
SHARANPAL SINGH RANDHAWA The Star 22 Oct 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: The state government has temporarily banned gas-filled balloons after Faiday’s incident where 31 people were injured after about 150 of the balloons exploded.

Mentri Besar Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman said he was waiting for a report from the police on the incident at the Walk for The Blind event in Batu Buruk in conjunction with the 2016 World Sight Day.

"We are saddened at what happened. A police report has been lodged and I urge all agencies to carry out their investigations.

"A detailed report must be handed over as soon as possible and the next cause of action will be decided,” he said after visiting the victims at Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital.

Ahmad Razif said the temporary ban on the balloons covers state government events.


Temporary balloon ban at official functions, Terengganu MB to decide after police investigation
SIM BAK HENG The Star 22 Oct 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: The use of balloons either as decorative items or an opening gimmick will temporarily be banned in all official functions with immediate effect.

This is pending the outcome of police investigation into the explosion of a bunch of balloons during a health event at the Batu Burok Recreational Park yesterday, which injured over 30 people.

The explosion occurred at the end of the Walk for the Blind event organised by the Ophthalmology Department of the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital.

Menteri Besar Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman said the supplier of the balloons claimed that the balloons were filled with helium gas which is non-flammable.

However, he said the explosion showed that the gas was highly flammable, as the explosion erupted into a massive ball of fire and injured 31 people on the spot, a majority of them, children.

“We will wait for the outcome of the police report first on the actual gas used to inflate the balloons. If possible, we will ban the use of balloons in all official functions in future.

“I will also instruct all the local authorities to carry out checks on decorative balloons sold by traders in the state, especially in recreational parks that targets children.

“We want to be 100 per cent sure that only non-flammable gas is used to inflate balloons,” he told reporters after visiting several victims of the explosion at the hospital. He was accompanied by hospital director Dr Nor Azimi Yunus.

Meanwhile, Azimi said the seven warded including one in the intensive care unit, suffered from burns ranging from three to 19 per cent. Another 24 received outpatient treatment yesterday.

She said the conditions of all the warded were stable but needed close observation. “The one who suffered from a 19 per cent burn is a 12-year-old student.

Most of the warded sustained burns on their face, neck and upper limbs,” she said.

During the incident, it is learnt about 150 black and white balloons, believed to contain flammable gas, were released into the sky as an opening gimmick but failed to float away after getting entangled.

The bunch was then left aside. During the lucky draw session at 11.45am, some 30 people, mostly schoolchildren tried to pull down the balloons.

It is believed an adult took out a lighter to cut the entangled strings when an explosion suddenly occurred.

The victims were rushed to the hospital’s emergency room, which was 100m away.

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