PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Gas-inflated balloons used as props for a fitness event at Dataran Putrajaya on Saturday morning (Oct 12) exploded, injuring 16 participants including children.
The incident was probably caused by the use of helium that has been mixed with other gases to reduce cost, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail - who visited the victims at the hospital - said.
She said if the gases were mixed, it could spell danger and disaster.
“If it is just helium (being used), it is not so worrying because I know for sure that if it’s not mixed (with other gases), there will be no problem," she told reporters. “But if helium is mixed with other gases to lower the cost, that is worrying."
Malaysian media reported that nine children and seven adults were hurt during the incident, which took place as the Education Ministry's 2019 National Sports Month event was wrapping up. The victims, whose ages range between four years old to in their thirties, were rushed to Putrajaya Hospital.
Putrajaya OCPD Asst Comm Rosly Hasan said: "The cause of the explosion was due to a parent who tried to cut the fastener of the (balloon) with a lighter. The preliminary investigation showed that there was no criminal element to the incident."
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, reminded the public not to smoke or use a cigarette lighter near helium gas-inflated balloons used as props at any event.
She said that the Social Welfare Department had provided counselling aid to the traumatised victims, and added that she had also spoken to Education Minister Maszlee Malik and Deputy Minister Teo Nie Ching about safety guidelines to ensure that such an incident will not happen again.
Putrajaya Hospital Emergency and Trauma Department head Dr Khairul Nizam Hassan said on Saturday that none of the victims were in critical condition.
"They suffered first- and second-degree burns. The injury areas vary with burns in the eyebrow, hair and hands," he said. "No one suffered total burns."