August 10, 2022

Westside People

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A 7-year-old boy and his 24-year-old sister were killed in a firework explosion in France

An involuntary manslaughter investigation was opened on Friday to explain how two people, including a seven-year-old child, died in Solette, western France, on Thursday after a “shooting incident” during a July 14 fireworks display.

A seven-year-old boy and his 24-year-old sister, who were with their family, were killed when several projectiles hit spectators a few dozen meters from the launch pad.

A relative of the young woman, in her thirties, suffered severe burns. He was taken to a special unit at the Tours hospital (centre-west) and his days are no longer in danger, said the public prosecutor of Angers Eric Poulard.

Six other bystanders, including the parents of two of the victims, suffered very mild injuries.

The trial of the artists and organizers began on Friday morning, the lawyer explained to journalists.

“I hope that answers will be given to the victims soon and light will be shed as quickly as possible,” he told BFMTV channel.

An investigation should be conducted to establish whether all safety measures, especially the proximity of the public to the launch site, were respected, the standards were respected, the rules of the art were respected,” he added.

According to several accounts, several dozen people attended the fireworks, standing behind the fences around the city hall, opposite the main square, where many spectators had gathered.

The accident, revealed by the daily Courrier de l’Ouest, was filmed and widely broadcast on social networks.

“We were about a hundred people 50 meters from the launch pad,” said AFP Sandy Beauvos, 25, a forklift driver in Solette.

“The firing device may have fallen to the ground as it caught fire on the launch pad, and ten seconds later a rocket exploded in the middle of the crowd”.

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“We got explosions and everybody got up to put out the fire in the very dry vegetation,” he continued. “It was not the only projectile that hit the crowd because it was not the one that caused the death,” he said.

Asked overnight by AFP about the circumstances of the crash, the prosecutor referred to a “shooting incident”.

Laurent Picard, who was at the fireworks with his two daughters, aged 8 and 13, witnessed the crash and posted some video footage of it on Facebook.

“I was 5/6 meters away from the explosion with my two daughters and I received sparks and felt the heat of the explosion,” she testified to AFP. “Fortunately, I served as a shield for my daughters where I was placed.”

“Was it a rocket arc or an explosion on the way down? It happened so fast, I can’t tell,” he added.

“It was screaming everywhere, it was a panic,” he recalls, still shocked. “I took the girls to safety. It could have been us!”

The mayor of Cholet Gilles Bourdouleix explained that security members would have advised people near the crash site to “move away”.

According to him, the municipality has been working for “years” with this “radical” artist, the Breton company HTP near Rennes according to Courrier de l’Ouest.

“It’s a terrible tragedy,” he commented.