Monday, February 26, 2007

Killer Kites

In what sounds like a bizarre cross between Ultimate Fighting, Rollerball and playground games, 11 people have been killed and more than a hundred injured at a kite flying festival in Pakistan. While some of those who died fell from rooftops while trying to grab hold of escaping kites, others were killed by sharpened kite strings or stray bullets.

The festival is regularly marred by casualties caused by sharp kite strings or celebratory gunshots fired into the air. Kite flyers often use strings made of wire or coated with ground glass to try to cross and cut a rival's string or damage the other kite, often after betting on the outcome.

Five of those who died on Sunday were hit by stray bullets, including a 6-year-school boy who was struck in the head near his home in the city's Mazang area, Bano said.

A 16-year-old girl and a schoolboy, 12, died after their throats were slashed by metal kite strings in separate incidents. Two people were electrocuted while they tried to recover kites tangled in overhead power cables, Bano said.

A 13-year-old boy fell to his death from the roof of his home as he tried to catch a stray kite, and a 35-year-old woman fell off the roof of her home trying to stop her son from running after a stray kite.

Who knew such an innocent sounding pastime could become so dangerous?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is remarkable that this ancient Indian spring festival is celebrated by Indians wherever they have migrated to without mishaps - except in Pakistan!