Four hurt in China after LED light balloons explode

Balloons thought to have been filled with cheaper but highly flammable hydrogen rather than helium gas

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 November, 2017, 3:26pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 November, 2017, 4:08pm

Four people were injured in eastern China after balloons with LED lights wrapped round them exploded, according to a newspaper report.

The novelty balloons have become increasingly popular in shops and on online trading platforms on the mainland.

The balloons involved in the accident may have been filled with highly flammable hydrogen rather than the safe but more expensive gas helium, which is normally used, according to the report.

Two men and two women bought six gas balloons from a street hawker after they had dinner on Monday night in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, the Modern Express reported.

The four got in a taxi, but ash from a cigarette burst one balloon and the others then exploded one after the other.

The four were taken to hospital with burns.

The most badly injured was a man with second-degree burns to his hands and face.

Chinese man badly burned after bursting hydrogen balloon with cigarette

The novelty balloons have become particularly popular among children, but some vendors cut corners using cheaper hydrogen gas to inflate them, the report said.

Three LED balloon sellers on the e-commerce site Taobao who were contacted by the South China Morning Post said they only used helium to inflate the products. Taobao is part of the Alibaba Group, which also owns the Post.

The fire services department in Jiangsu province tested the flammability of LED balloons, the news website Jschina.com.cn reported.

A cigarette placed by a helium-filled balloon only caused it to pop and deflate, but hydrogen-filled balloons caught fire and flared up, the report said.

Over 100 LED balloons sold by hawkers have been seized by Jiangsu urban management officials since the accident, the Modern Express reported.