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Dutch child, 12, killed in fireworks accident

By AFP
31 December 2021   |   6:16 pm
A 12-year-old child was killed and another seriously injured in a Dutch fireworks accident on Friday, police said, despite a nationwide ban on fireworks to usher in the New Year.

Dutch fireworks enthusiasts queue at a fireworks shop at the Belgium border town of Baarle-Hertog, on December 27, 2021 due to the fireworks ban in the Netherlands. (Photo by Jeffrey GROENEWEG / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT

A 12-year-old child was killed and another seriously injured in a Dutch fireworks accident on Friday, police said, despite a nationwide ban on fireworks to usher in the New Year.

The incident happened in the small eastern town of Haaksbergen near the German border when the children were apparently watching an adult set off fireworks using a homemade device.

“A 12-year-old boy died after the incident. Another boy has been taken to hospital,” police tweeted.

“The children had nothing to do with the incident,” they added.

The children were watching a man set off explosives using a “klaphamer”, the NOS public broadcaster said.

The device is essentially a scaled-up version of a cap pistol toy in which a hammer strikes an anvil filled with combustible powder, producing a loud bang.

Police arrested one man.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dutch traditionally celebrated New Year by forking out vast amounts of money on fireworks in a pyrotechnics frenzy that turned some city streets into virtual battlefields.

But the practice has been banned for two years running. Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said firework-related injuries placed too much strain on health workers already battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet despite the ban, loud bangs could frequently be heard in the run-up to New Year’s Eve.

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