A wind shift during a fireworks display in Auckland, New Zealand ended up injuring at least four people on Saturday. The fireworks were part of Ports of Auckland’s SeePort festival which took place over the weekend.
The fireworks went off at the end of a concert by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, with around 6,000 people packed on the Captain Cook Wharf, when the winds suddenly changed its direction and blew sparks at the crowd. A handful of people gazing at the sky got injured as large sparks descended on them.
Four people, suspected to have suffered eye injuries, were attended by ambulance staff and a woman was taken to Auckland City Hospital. The injured persons could be seen lying on stretchers with their eyes covered in white eyepatches while others started leaving the wharf.
An Auckland District Health Board spokesperson said that the woman who was brought to the Auckland City Hospital with an eye injury was treated in the emergency department and was released.
Matt Ball, the spokesman for Ports of Auckland, confirmed on Monday that few people were taken to hospital with minor eye injuries.
“After the fireworks started the wind picked up and a few showers of sparks fell down on the people,” the NZ Herald quoted him as saying. “A small number of people got hit. It’s just unfortunate the winds picked up during the display.”
He added that a number of precautionary measures were taken before the fireworks display. These included marking out a safety zone to keep the spectators at a safe distance from where the fireworks display was set up. The organisers also tried to protect the crowd from getting burned by moving them back during the display.
The Stuff.co.nz reported that the organisers called off the fireworks two minutes early after they realised that sparks were falling on the crowd.