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Nine injured as graduation ceremony turns sour in Turkey



The fireworks were meant to be for a graduation ceremony but they misfired
The fireworks were meant to be for a graduation ceremony but they misfired

A graduation ceremony turned to mass panic after celebratory fireworks misfired and exploded into the audience.

Screams of terror were heard as the fireworks started firing off into the crowd of friends and family, injuring nine people and tearing apart shoes and bags.

Fireworks continued to pop around them as students and their relatives scrambled to escape flaming debris raining down on them.

Some were left with burns while another reported their brother suffered a brain haemorrhage after the shocking incident at the ceremony in the beach resort city of Alanya in southern Turkey.

The disaster was caught on the mobile phones of people filming the event.

Nine people were injured at the university graduation ceremony.

The injured people were among 639 students and their families attending the Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University (ALKU)’s graduation ceremony at the Alanya Municipal Open Air Theatre.

According to Mirror, the fireworks display started after the students threw their degree caps into the air to celebrate their graduation.

But a number of fireworks exploded very close to the ground, injuring nine people, all believed to be students or their relatives, and sparking panic in the theatre.

The injured people were later identified as Hatice Ozlem, 25, Mehmet Yucel Sumakoglu, 20, Ayten Sumak, age unknown, Sevinc Ozer, 45, and five more whose injuries were less severe and whose names have not been released.

They were all taken by ambulance to the Alaaddin Keykubat University Hospital for treatment.

Those more seriously hurt were treated in the hospital’s orthopaedic surgery department while those with minor injuries were treated as outpatients and allowed home.

Hatice Ozlem,who was hit by the firework, said: “The graduation ceremony was going without any problems until the students threw their caps in the air and the fireworks started. The first ones exploded in the sky but the last two went off in the crowd.

“We don’t know if the necessary security measures were taken for this but we want them to be more careful when doing such activities.”

Eyewitness Basak Sumakoglu, whose sister, brother and mother were injured in the incident, said: “We were told the explosion went off at the wrong place.

“As the organisers said on the microphone that there was no problem we didn’t take the issue very seriously.

“But 10 to 15 minutes later we saw fire coming from where the fireworks had fallen. Our family was sitting right at that point. We ran there and I saw my siblings’ shoes and bag torn apart.

“I saw that my mum, sister and brother had been outside. Then they were taken to hospital. My brother has had a brain haemorrhage for four days so far.

“My mother has a hearing problem and she needs an operation. My sister has burns on her neck and shoulders.”

Police have launched an investigation into the incident and the manufacturers of the fireworks could face charges.

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