Vietnam cancels most fireworks for Hanoi’s 1000th anniversary following blast that killed 4

By Tran Van Minh, AP
Friday, October 8, 2010

Hanoi axes millennium fireworks after deadly blast

HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam has canceled dozens of fireworks displays planned across the capital for Hanoi’s 1000th anniversary celebration, two days after four people were killed in a pyrotechnics accident while preparing for the event, officials said Friday.

The government had planned fireworks in 29 different sites Sunday as part of celebrations of the millennial anniversary of Hanoi’s founding, a much-promoted event intended to stoke national pride and demonstrate how far the country has advanced beyond its long history of war.

The official Communist Party website said Friday that fireworks would be canceled.

The notice did not mention this week’s blast at My Dinh National Stadium, when two imported containers of fireworks exploded while being transported to a dress rehearsal. Instead, it said that the cancellations were to save money to donate to victims of flooding in central Vietnam where 52 people have died.

However, the main pyrotechnics display at My Dinh will still be held, according to an executive at a company responsible for the fireworks there. He declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Wednesday’s explosion killed two German citizens, the country’s embassy confirmed Friday. They have not been identified.

Vietnam’s Thanh Nien newspaper reported Friday that the blast killed a Singaporean woman with the fireworks company Glorious Singapore who was managing 34 foreign technicians installing water screens and a laser system. A receptionist at Glorious Singapore declined to comment, but said the company’s managers were in Vietnam.

The fourth fatality, a Vietnamese citizen, worked for a military-run chemical company, Thanh Nien said.

The government has tightly controlled information about the blast, which sent a giant ball of smoke into the sky above the capital.

Communist Vietnam has spent millions to spruce up Hanoi this year in preparation for the millennial celebrations, which will also include a parade of 30,000 people.


Associated Press reporter Alex Kennedy in Singapore contributed to this report.

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