10 Injured at Yasothon Rocket Festival

YASOTHON — A rocket exploded Sunday at the annual Rocket Festival in the northeastern province of Yasothon, injuring 10.

A homemade rocket exploded just after ignition as it left the tower at about 2pm, burning 10 onlookers. The three-meter rocket exploded about 10 meters from the ground, raining down plastic shrapnel and burning gunpowder. The injured, including three members of the team which set up the rocket, were taken for treatment at Sai Mun Hospital for minor burns.

“Before this rocket exploded, another caught on fire, so one of the mechanics was poking this rocket with a metal rod in its nozzle to try and clean it,” said Nuanong Boonkum of the explosion which hurt three members of her family. “The rocket caught on fire, and three mechanics got burns on their hands.”

According to residents, the rocket most likely exploded due to substandard packing of the gunpowder or premature ignition.

The Rocket Festival – derived from Lao fertility rites – is celebrated annually throughout Isaan.

A rocket explodes at Yasothon Rocket Festival on Sunday.
A team works on their rocket Sunday in Yasothon province.
A monk blows on the bandaged wound of one those burned at Sai Mun Hospital.