Balloon explosion during visarjan scars 17-year-old

Oct 15, 2012, 06:58 IST | Saurabh Vaktania

He had ferried his boat out to sea to bid farewell to Lalbaugcha Raja when gas balloons on board exploded; has been forced to miss Std X semester exams owing to his wounds

Bidding adieu to Lord Ganesha took a horrible turn for a 17-year-old after he suffered serious burn injuries when a series of balloons exploded mid-sea. The teen has now been forced to miss his Std X semester examinations that are starting today.

Ganesh Das
Scarred: Ganesh Das has been forced to miss his Std X semester examinations owing to his burns, and is currently recovering in St George Hospital. Pic/Atul Kamble 

Every year during Ganpati visarjans, several residents of the fisherman’s colony at Cuffe Parade take their boats out to sea to bid Lalbaugcha Raja a final adieu for the season. The fishermen mark this occasion with firecrackers and decorate their boats with gas balloons.

Ganesh Das, a student of Holy Name High School at Colaba, and his friend Dheeraj Tandel and 28 others wanted to bid farewell to the deity and ferried his father’s boat to sea in the wee hours of September 30. “We had bought some balloons and had tied them closed to the boat’s silencer.

Owing to the heat, suddenly one of the balloons burst and within a few moments, the other balloons also began to explode. Some of us who are good swimmer dived into the water to escape the explosions,” said Ganesh.

Onlookers at the beach and other fisher folk saw the teens in the water and rushed to rescue them. They were taken to hospital immediately, where it was found that 11 who were on the boat had been injured. Ganesh, who suffered serious burn injuries owing to the blasts, is still recuperating at St George Hospital.

Recounting the mishap, Ganesh said, “Every year we go out to bid farewell to the Lalbaugcha Raja. This year too, we took my dad’s boat. I can’t fathom how all this happened in a matter of few seconds.”

Ganesh’s father Shankar said, “He is recovering slowly, but he still can’t get out of bed. The school authorities have been kind enough to help us during these difficult times. We are praying to Ganesha that he gets well soon and passes his exams with flying colours.”  

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