A group of festival revellers who tied six sky lanterns together nearly set a female tourist on fire when the bundle burst into flames and crashed to the ground.
The unnamed woman, whose clothes were reportedly set alight, was saved when a nearby shopkeeper rushed to her aid and extinguished the flames with his bare hands, witnesses said.
Video Credit: AsiaWire
Video of the incident was taken on the remote railway lines of Pingxi District in North Taiwan’s New Taipei City, which have for decades been the go-to destination for tourists celebrating the Lantern Festival.
The clip shows the bundle of six sky lanterns – small hot-air balloons made of paper – rising to some 50 feet in the air when the paper catches fire and the fireball crashes to the ground amid screams from the crowds.
Witnesses said the woman whose clothes caught fire escaped in the end with no injuries.
The incident happened on 19th February during the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated annually on the 15th day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar.
It marks the official end of the Chinese New Year holidays and is observed by releasing sky lanterns into the sky.
The occasion ranked third on National Geographic magazine’s 10 Best Winter Trips for 2016.
Following the Lantern Festival scare, the New Taipei City Fire Department revealed it did not receive any reports of the incident.
However, the fire service said it advised against the bundling of sky lanterns, which could be considered a public safety offence worthy of a 3,000-TWD (75-GBP) fine.
On 15th June 2011, Taiwan revealed new sky lantern laws aimed at regulating the time, location and method lanterns are released.