Three die in New Year's Eve fireworks incidents in Germany

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Three die in New Year's Eve fireworks incidents in Germany
An emergency vehicle pictured with its blue lights flashing. Three people were killed and many more injured in fireworks-related incident on New Year's Eve in Germany. AFP / David GANNON

New Year's Eve is full of promise for many, but for some the party ended in hospital and three people died after trying to light firecrackers and a banned firework.



In Bavaria, an 18-year-old man was killed when a firecracker he'd been handling exploded, causing fatal head injuries; in Koblenz another 18-year-old died when lighting a firecracker; and a 22-year-old in Boxberg, Saxony died while lighting an illegal 'ball bomb' (Kugelbombe), police reported.

"[Kugelbombe] are large, round fireworks that are shot into the air using a launcher and produce the effect of multiple normal New Year's Eve rockets," police spokesman Michael Guenzel told Bild newspaper.

Emergency services had been worried that this New Year's Eve would see a repeat of the violence against police and firefighters from the turn of the year in 2022/2023.

To address this, police placed a strong focus on Berlin, ramping up their presence in the city with thousands of officers on duty, and instituting the concept of no-firecracker zones and pre-defined hotspot areas.

And the latest police figures show that this worked.

Some 390 people were arrested in Berlin – many because of violations of the Weapons and Explosives Act, 54 officers were injured, including 30 by fireworks, a police spokesperson told news agency DPA.

Preliminary figures show that there were 720 investigations into incidents throughout the city between 6pm on New Year's Eve and 6am on January 1st. 

But the traditional New Year's Eve party at the Brandenburg Gate was a peaceful celebration, with some 65,000 people enjoying the sold-out event, according to organisers.


Berlin's governing mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) rated the police operation on New Year's Eve a success: “Strong presence, consistent action and full support for our police help to keep such situations under control,” Wegner wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

And the police union (GdP) was pleased that "the trend towards more and more violence on New Year's Eve" had been stopped.

According to an initial police assessment, around 100 officers were injured nationwide.

In North Rhine-Westphalia alone, 21 police officers were injured, far fewer than a year ago, when 43 officers were injured. 

Unfortunately, many party-goers ended up in A&E.

27 people were treated at the Berlin Unfallskrankenhaus alone for serious injuries, including to eyes, face and hands, caused by firecrackers, the team said on X.




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