Festival-goers in Myanmar who were looking forward to celebrating a Buddhist holiday with a fireworks display, got a lot more than they bargained for. A hot air balloon filled with fireworks exploded over a crowd of festival-goers on Nov 14, sending people running for cover.
The incident happened during the Tazaungdaing Festival of Lights where organizers invite teams of people to launch unmanned balloons adorned with Buddhist symbols and filled with fireworks in order to help usher in the new season.
However, for one of those balloons, something went terribly wrong.
Video shot by spectators show the hot air balloon slowly ascending while fireworks shoot out of its sides, until suddenly, the balloon explodes, sending it crashing back to the ground, forcing people to flee.
Dr. Than Win, a member of the organizing committee, told BBC Burmese that at least nine people were hurt by the explosion.
“Last night, a hot-air balloon with 40 pounds of explosives fell from 300 feet onto the festival. Because the balloon fell into the middle of the festival, where there were a lot of people, of course it hit some people,” he told the Burmese-language broadcaster. “Like always, people ran away when this happened.”
The Festival of Lights, held this year between Nov. 14 to the 23rd, commemorates the Buddhist holiday of Tazuandaing and the end to the monsoon season. Teams are invited to build and launch unmanned hot-air balloons adorned with Buddhist symbols and candles. Every year, there are reports of crashing balloons and stray fireworks that injure festival-goers.