Balloons explode at rally; more than 140 hurt
More than 140 people were hurt after hundreds of balloons believed to be filled with highly-flammable hydrogen exploded in the middle of a crowd.
People scattered as the fireball erupted at a political rally in Yerevan, capital city of Armenia. The dramatic incident was caught on camera.
The balloons apparently exploded after being ignited by a cigarette during the event, staged by President Serzh Sarkisian’s ruling Republican Party.
An eyewitness who gave her name as Susan said: "I heard an explosion and saw flames rising high.
"People rushed away from the square, and I saw a man with a burnt face and a girl whose back was on fire."
A video posted online showed a large but short-lived flame billowing in the middle of the crowd where the white balloons had been flying moments before.
Health minister Harutyun Kushkyan told state television many people were injured in the chaos as people tried to flee.
She described the condition of the injured as "satisfactory".
The promotional balloons were decorated with the governing party's election slogan "Let's believe in change".
The incident marred a largely calm election campaign and Sarkisian promised a full investigation.
He said: “I urge everyone to keep calm. Let us pray for all the victims and wish them a quick recovery.”
Sarkisian’s party has been tipped to triumph over its rival, the Prosperous Armenia Party led by a wealthy former arm wrestling champion. - www.thesun.co.uk