Boy Launched 10 Feet Into Air After Dropping Live Firecracker Down Manhole

A young boy launched himself 10 feet into the air but escaped with only minor injuries after he dropped a live firecracker down a manhole and caused an explosion on Saturday.

The curious child from the county of Kangle, which is in Gansu Province in northwestern China, is thought to have ignited a build-up of highly flammable biogases including methane and hydrogen sulfide.

CCTV images from the boy's gated community showed him walking near two manholes with his friends when he crouched down and began touching one of the metal sewer covers.

Both manhole covers were blown open a moment later, and a spark could be seen underneath the child as he was launched some 10 feet into the air, the video showed.

As his friends ran and ducked for cover, the boy spun twice in the air before landing on his rear. Fortunately, he appeared able to sit himself up at the end of the dramatic accident.

"It happened after school. The group of kids were playing together, and there were few adults around," a spokesperson for the residential community's managing agency told Beijing's Pear Video.

She added: "The boy put the firework through the manhole, then it burst open. He was hurt during the fall, but he's fine."

The staff member noted that the manholes lead to the neighborhood sewer as well as an assortment of pipes.

The explosion is believed to have been caused when the boy's live firecracker ignited flammable gases underground.

"The firework was very small. Had it been larger, this might've been much more serious," she said.

The spokesperson added that the neighborhood's management office had previously sent out multiple safety notices to local residents, advising against placing firecrackers or cigarette butts down manholes.

"But people don't seem to care," she said.

China firework
File photo: A merchant sets off firecrackers to pray for good business in front of a wholesale market in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China. /) Tao Zhang/Getty Images

Similar accidents are frequently reported in China, where strings of firecrackers are used to celebrate the opening of news businesses or mark occasions such as weddings.

The rate of incidents increases around the Lunar New Year holiday, when observing the custom is believed to bring good luck, with children regularly injuring themselves under similar circumstances by causing sewer gas explosions.

The Chinese government has sought to ban fireworks in hundreds of large cities since 2018, citing environmental and health concerns, such as noise and air pollution.

However, the authorised—and unauthorised—production of pyrotechnics continues, as does the use of the culturally significant fireworks, especially in smaller cities and towns.