DVB Multimedia Group

Festival chaos as hot-air balloon crashes

A bystander captured footage of the moment the hot-air balloon went down with fireworks still blasting all around.

A balloon laden with 65kg of fireworks crashed into a crowd of revellers at the Tasaungdaing Hot-Air Balloon Festival in Pyin Oo Lwin on 14 November, injuring 15 people, three of whom are in serious condition.

Speaking to DVB, Moe Swe, the deputy commander of Pyin Oo Lwin Fire Services Department, said, “The ballon was carrying about 40 peiktha (65kg) of fireworks when it crashed to earth. Fifteen people were injured; nine of whom were taken to hospital. Three women have somewhat serious injuries, but the others just suffered superficial cuts and burns.”

The five-day festival marking the Buddhist full moon day of Tasaungdaing kicked off on 11 November. The event this year had over 100 contestants competing to boast the most spectacular fireworks display from their hot-air balloons. The cost of a balloon plus fireworks may be up to 4 million kyat (US$3,000) and takes about a month to build.

The hot-air balloon festival was held for the first time in Pyin Oo Lwin in 2005 with just 10 contestants, but today is one of Burma’s best known festivals.