Woman dies after ‘frying pan explosion’ at German food festival

A woman has died and several people are seriously injured after an explosion at a festival in the German town of Freudenberg-Alchen, east of Cologne.

Woman dies after ‘frying pan explosion' at German food festival
Police at the scene of the festival in Freudenberg-Alchen. Photo: DPA

Around 100 people were attending the “Backesfest” when the incident happened at a fried potatoes stand around noon on Sunday.

According to a police spokesperson, a 67-year-old woman died as a result of severe burns on Monday. 

A total of 14 people were injured and given treatment at the scene. Five people between the ages of 31 to 75-years-old are in a critical condition

They suffered severe burns, while one of them suffered a heart attack.

According to initial findings, the incident could have been caused by fat exploding in a large grill frying pan.

Some of the damage at the festival. Photo: DPA

Authorities on the scene told public broadcaster WDR that more than 100 people were at the event when the explosion happened.

Those who suffered injuries were transported by emergency helicopter to hospitals in the larger nearby cities of Dortmund, Cologne and Bochum.

Investigators were on Monday probing exactly how the accident happened.

The festival was taking place on the 675th anniversary of the village of Alchen.

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German police under fire for using tracing app to find witnesses

German police drew criticism Tuesday for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation.

A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant.
A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The case stemming from November last year began after the fatal fall of a man while leaving a restaurant in the western city of Mainz.

Police seeking possible witnesses made use of data from an app known as Luca, which was designed for patrons to register time spent in restaurants and taverns to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Luca records the length of time spent at an establishment along with the patron’s full name, address and telephone number – all subject to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

However the police and local prosecutors in the case in Mainz successfully appealed to the municipal health authorities to gain access to information about 21 people who visited the restaurant at the same time as the man who died.

After an outcry, prosecutors apologised to the people involved and the local data protection authority has opened an inquiry into the affair.

“We condemn the abuse of Luca data collected to protect against infections,” said the company that developed the Luca app, culture4life, in a statement.

It added that it had received frequent requests for its data from the authorities which it routinely rejected.

Konstantin von Notz, a senior politician from the Greens, junior partners in the federal coalition, warned that abuse of the app could undermine public trust.

“We must not allow faith in digital apps, which are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19, to disappear,” he told Tuesday’s edition of Handelsblatt business daily.