A FIREWORKS display went disastrously wrong after dozens of rockets exploded at the same time, sending the crowd scattering for cover.
Two children and a man were reported hurt when a rogue rocket bounced off a climbing frame and detonated up to 15 boxes of fireworks in Oxgangs, Edinburgh.
Spectacular footage posted on YouTube showed scenes of panic following the massive detonation.
As flames and sparks shot in to the sky, safety marshalls could be seen sprinting for their lives. Seconds later, the cameraman is almost hit by a rocket which explodes against the safety barrier.
The daughter of the event’s organiser said a rocket had ricocheted off of a climbing frame and set off the remaining fireworks.
Management at the Pentland Community Centre apologised for the “freak accident” and insisted the event had been carefully organised together with Edinburgh City Council.
The one minute 48 second video initially shows fireworks streaking into the night sky, watched by hundreds of people who had been asked to donate £1 each.
But after just 30 seconds cries of panic can be heard and organisers can be seen running away from the centre of the explosions.
The explosions carry on for another 30 seconds before gradually tapering off, and members of the public behind a barrier can be seen running away as rockets explode near them.
One rocket slams into the barrier separating the crowd from the display area, showering the area with sparks.
A young girl was taken to the city’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children following the display after apparently being hit by a stray rocket.
John Nisbett decided to watch the display from his window as he felt the railings were far too close.
He said: “The place was mobbed, they were setting them all off from the swing park.
“It actually went wrong twice. First, a spark landed from a firework in the crowd but nothing was done about it. Then the whole box went up a few minutes later.
“Everyone was holding onto their kids and running away. People ran down the streets and were trying to get away as soon as possible.
“The explosion itself must have been about an hour into the night’s events.
“You could just hear a massive explosion and then fire and screaming. It was like Bosnia.”
He added: ‘The fire was finally put out and the police and environmental officers helped out too.
“I just think it was awful close to the railings. The fireworks were to close to the people. I’d say about 3m away from people in some parts.”
June Marry, 45, from Oxgangs, watched the display go wrong from her window that overlooks the park.
She said: “I was looking out the window and my son had come in from the park.
“The next thing it just exploded, I’ve never seen anything like that in my entire life. The noise was incredible.
“I gave me the fright of my life.
“I’m surprised if the guys standing beside the railings weren’t injured when it all went up.”
She added: ‘It was pretty spectacular. It’s usually 30 mins or 45 but it just all went up together in the end.”
Rachel Fallon went to the display with her two children.
She said: “One of the rockets exploded too low. Sparks fell over the crowd and hit some people.
“I could really feel the heat near my face. Luckily it didn’t scar me or my kids.”
A message posted on YouTube said: ““The wee girl is OK. She had a bit of grit in her ear so they took her to hospital and she had a tiny burn. She was mostly just scared.”
Another comment said: “A little boy was injured but thankfully it’s a little scratch on his neck – other thank that it was a very good night.”
Another spectator commented: “Fraid we won’t be there next year. Usually it’s so good, but that was really scary.”
Another comment read: “I was hit, wasn’t very nice lol”
Kirsty Galloway, the daughter of the organiser of the fireworks, posted on twitter last night after the incident.
She said: “My mum organises the oxgangs fireworks every year and she got talked into getting bigger ones this year and honestly she’s so upset.”
She added: “Thanks for all the tweets everyone, it genuinely was an accident, rocket flew into the climbing frame came back down into a box of fireworks.”
Ms Galloway also explained that her uncle was hit by one of the stray fireworks.
She wrote: “Ugh my uncle got hit in the face, night gets better and better.
“If that rocket had hit my uncle one inch to the side he would have lost his eye.”
Rob Cavanagh posted on twitter that “15 boxes of fireworks exploded in oxgangs.”
Colinton and Fairmilehead councillor Jason Rust said: “I’m very sorry to hear children may have been hurt and I hope they will be all right.”
Lothian and Borders police said they had been made aware of the incident.
A spokesman said: “Concern was raised by a member of the public when it would appear some fireworks went astray and caused the crowd to scatter to escape.”
A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders fire and rescue service, who were not called to the incident itself, said: “This does highlight how quickly and easily things can go wrong with fireworks.
“The footage on YouTube is quite spectacular, it’s very fortunate that more people were not inured.
“Even with organised displays and if you follow the instructions the danger is still there.”
A statement posted on the community centre’s website said: “The Management Committee of PCC would like to express our sincere apologies for any upset caused following the unfortunate incident at our annual firework display on Monday evening.
“One of the rockets misfired towards the end of the display, and ricocheted into the remaining undetonated fireworks, setting them off all at once.
“This was a freak accident, and most regrettable, but this is the first incident we have had in 10 years of holding this popular community event, and we extend our apologies to everyone who was alarmed.
“We will be reviewing our safety protocols, but it must be stressed that this is a well organised event, approved by the City of Edinburgh Council and the emergency services, and it is a fact of life that sometimes unforeseen things happen, despite the best of planning and precaution.”
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh City Council said: “We are investigating into our involvement of the incident now.”
The incident comes a year after a fireworks display in Oban went wrong as 20-minutes-worth of fireworks went off in 50 seconds as a result of a technical fault.
No-one was injured but the council responded by deciding not to have fireworks this year. Their alternative to “Obang” – a bonfire, dooking for apples and other traditional events – was boycotted by most residents.
In a separate incident in Edinburgh last night, a woman was taken to hospital when fireworks were set off inside the stairwell of her block of flats in Meadowfield Drive.
Bags of baby clothes which were to be donated to Africa were ruined in the blaze.