Bystander’s video captures the moment a firework explodes in man’s face in fluke accident at Ely’s annual display

14th November 2016

A man injured when a faulty firework exploded in his face at Ely’s firework display on Saturday is expected to make a full recovery.

The unnamed victim, who was part of the Battel Bonfire Boyes professional crew, was hit in the face by small particles which caused damage to his eyes.

But organisers of the public charity event say the health and safety measures in place meant the man received immediate attention before being rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for treatment – he was discharged later that night.

David Hayden, health and safety officer with Ely XT, which runs the display said: “We have marshals all along the fence with buckets of water just in case something like this happens.

“The man was wearing proper protective gear including a fine mesh mask, which meant only small particles managed to get through. I know his right eye was badly affected and his left eye was as fine as could be expected. He could see light and dark through his right eye and they were expecting him to make a full recovery.

“The St John Ambulance people were with him almost straight away with saline solution and looked after him until the ambulance arrived.”

Mr Hayden said the event has been running for over 30 years without incident and pointed out Saturday’s accident was a pure fluke caused by a faulty firework, which no amount of precautions could have prevented.

He said: “We have been told the man is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery and that he has even promised to come back next year to let fireworks off for our display.”

Between 5,000 and 6,000 people were at the display which ended about five minutes earlier than planned because of the accident.

Among the crowds of families was one eye witness who captured the moment the firework exploded leaving the injured man lying on the ground.

He said: “The display started off extremely well however the display was unable to finish due to a horrific accident.

“The firework didn’t seem to have a delay due to the fact it exploded in the man’s face.”

Others took to social media to explain what they saw as the firework display at Cherry Hill was under way.

“My family and I watched this man hit the ground as the fireworks knocked his helmet off,” she said.

“My daughter shouted man down and a steward heard her and went running over. In the 25 years I have been to this display there has never been an accident.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to this man and I wish him a speedy recovery.”

Another woman said her husband, a doctor, was with her at the event and he went to help.

Battel Bonfire Boyes, who are based in Battle, Sussex, posted a message to say their worker, who is very experienced, was now at home and was doing well. They thanked everyone for all their good wishes