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Loy Krathong Festival Takes Casualties



Festival firecracker blasts kill teen, maim 12-year-old boy


BANGKOK – A teenage boy was killed and his stepfather seriously injured when firecrackers they were carrying on their motorcycle exploded in Muang district of Ang Thong durning Loy Krathong festival.

The incident occurred on Ang Thong-Pho Thong Road. Police found the injured man, identified as Niwat, 32, and his 16-year-old stepson, who was not identified, on the road beside the motorcycle.

Army workers haul krathongs out of a pond in the Suranaree army camp in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima yesterday. The krathongs, made from natural materials and floated during the Loy Krathong celebration on Wednesday night, will be used to produce organic fertiliser.

Mr Niwat sustained multiple blast wounds and the boy’s thighs were mutilated. The boy died on his way to hospital, while Mr Niwat was in a critical condition.

Witnesses said the pair was riding the motorcycle with a bag full of look kong round, lime-sized firecrackers to celebrate the Loy Krathong festival. They lit the firecrackers and threw them on the road as they were riding.

Shortly afterwards, witnesses said they heard a loud bang and saw the motorcycle catch fire.

Police said the bag of fireworks may have been placed on the lap of the pillion rider of the motorcycle. It was not clear who was driving the motorcycle.

Meanwhile, in Phitsanulok, a 12-year-old boy suffered a severe hand injury caused by an exploding firecracker.

Jirapas Thienwan said he bought firecrackers at a Loy Krathong temple fair where he was helping his mother run a stall on Wednesday.

The firecracker went off before he could throw it, causing serious damage to his right hand.

In Chai Nat, a municipal worker was drowned as he was gathering krathongs from the Chao Phraya River in Muang district yesterday morning. Krissana Liamsomboon, 36, may have been struck by a seizure and drowned while he was in the water trying to collect the krathongs, according to his wife, Sakunee Boondech.

More than 900,000 krathongs were collected from waterways in 50 Bangkok districts yesterday. Juree Chantharasap, director of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s Environment Department, said 916,354 krathongs were pulled from waterways and public ponds across Bangkok following the Loy Krathong festival. The number was up sharply from last year, when about 320,000 krathongs were collected in Bangkok.

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