The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Boy (13) Dies in Firecracker Accident

A 13-year-old Masvingo boy died yesterday after being seriously injured in a suspected firecracker accident. Innocent Zambezi, who lived in Hari resettlement area, suffered the fatal injuries on Saturday evening after the explosion.

He was rushed to Masvingo General Hospital after sustaining injuries on his face.

The teenager was, however, transferred to Parirenyatwa Hospitals where he died on admission.

Ms Esther Zambezi, an aunt to the late Innocent, said the family members were not sure on what really happened although they suspected a firecracker accident.

"There was an explosion that attracted people to where Innocent was. He had just driven the cattle into the kraal around 4pm.

"His face was seriously deformed. The mouth and the jaws were tattered and some three teeth fell off at the scene.

"Some are saying it was a firecracker, but firecrackers are not common in our village during the Christmas holiday.

"Maybe he just picked it up on his way from the kraal and fired it," said Ms Zambezi.

The boy's body was yesterday taken to his rural home for burial.

"We are on our way to Masvingo. Burial arrangements are yet to be finalised," said Ms Zambezi.

The festive season turned gory for a Beitbridge man in 2011 when he lost two fingers after a firecracker exploded in his hands on Christmas eve.

Thirty-year old Isaiah Tadzembwa of Dulibadzimu suburb bought a set of crackers at the bus terminus for his children.

When he got home at around 10 pm he decided to start the fireworks and lit one of the crackers.

However, instead of putting it down so it could shoot into the air to explode safely, Tadzembwa inexplicably held on to it.

The cracker exploded in his palms blowing off two of his fingers and severely injuring two others.

Another child, Nyashadzashe Mungwage (10) from Gweru was on December 24 last year reportedly injured on the eye by firecrackers in another incident, which highlights the dangers of fireworks.

On New Year's Eve last year, a Harare toddler, Tanaka Masanga, met a similar fate when he lost his left eye after a firecracker lit by his peers exploded in his face.

Firecrackers have suddenly become popular with children on Christmas and New Year's evenings, but most of them are proving ignorant on how to safely explode them.

A firecracker (also known as a cracker, noisemaker, banger or bunger) is a small explosive device primarily designed to produce a loud bang; any visual effect is incidental to this goal.

Firecrackers have fuses and are wrapped in heavy paper casing that contains the explosive compound.

While firecrackers are meant mostly for children, they are not to be used without adult supervision.

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