Wan Azizah: Explosion probably caused by mixing helium with other gases



The gas-inflated balloon explosion incident at Dataran Putrajaya yesterday was probably caused by the use of helium that has been mixed with other gases to reduce cost, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said.

She said if the gases were mixed, it could spell danger and disaster.

“If it is just helium (being used), it is not so worrying because I know for sure that if it’s not mixed (with other gases), there will be no problem.

“But if helium is mixed with other gases to lower the cost, that is worrying,” she told reporters in response to the balloon explosion incident at the tail-end of the Education Ministry's 2019 National Sports Month event yesterday, which injured to 16 people, including nine children.

Wan Azizah was met after the presentation of offer letters for Kuala Lumpur City Hall People’s Housing Project Transit Homes today.

Police believed the incident occurred when someone tried to cut the string tied to a bunch of balloons with a cigarette lighter, and the flame is believed to have struck one of the balloons before the whole bunch exploded.

All victims, aged between four and their 30s, were rushed to the Putrajaya Hospital. 

Five adults and an eight-year-old girl were receiving treatment for a second-degree burn.

So far, the Deputy Prime Minister said four victims were reported stable.

“They comprise three adults and a child. They are stable now but still need further treatment before they can be discharged,” she said.

She said the Social Welfare Department had also provided counselling aid to the traumatised victims.

To prevent recurrence of the incident, Wan Azizah, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, reminded the public not to smoke or use a cigarette lighter near helium gas-inflated balloons used as props at any event.

She said she had also talked to Education Minister Maszlee Malik and Deputy Minister Teo Nie Ching pertaining to safety guidelines to ensure that the incident will not recur.

- Bernama

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