Fireworks Barge Explodes In Australia, Forcing Beach Evacuation

Spectators first laughed and cheered, then scattered, screaming.

A spectacular fireworks display off an Australian beach on New Year’s Eve turned from thrills to horror when a fireworks barge exploded in flames

Two technicians on the barge dove into the water amid the shuddering eruption five minutes into the fireworks display off Terrigal Beach about 40 miles north of Sydney. They suffered only minor injuries and were treated on the scene by paramedics. 

Thousands of people watching on the beach were evacuated, the Newcastle Herald reported.

“The fireworks were going off as you’d expect and then suddenly there was a hell of an explosion. Next thing the barge was on fire,” a Terrigal resident told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Many spectators were initially unsure about what had happened. After the explosion, all of the fireworks suddenly erupted uncontrollably, even shooting into the crowd, as the barge burned.  Some spectators laughed and cheered while others, realizing what had happened, screamed and ran.

It was the first time the fireworks display was resurrected after years with no show. It was organized by the owner of the Terrigal Surf Club who raised money to put on the display and spent much of the year getting the proper permits and insurance, the Herald reported.