Two killed, 361 injured in Italian New Year revelry
ROME - Agence France-Presse
Fireworks light up the ancient Colisseum in central Rome's via dei Fori just after midnight on January 1, 2013. World cities from Sydney to Dubai rang in the New Year with a spectacular global wave of firework displays. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTOTwo people were killed by exploding fireworks and 361 were injured as New Year revelry turned deadly in Italy despite multiple campaigns to encourage Italians to tone down the partying.
A 49-year-old builder was killed by a rocket flying into his face and a 51-year-old restaurant owner died when a firecracker went off near his head as he was trying out a firework battery just before midnight, the police said.
Both accidents occurred in the Campania region in southern Italy, where powerful illegal fireworks are widely available and popular among residents.
A car believed to have been packed with illegal fireworks exploded in Naples on New Year's Eve, severely injuring the two teenagers inside.
The toll was only slightly down from last year when two people were killed and 561 injured by fireworks.
"These incidents underline once again that the most serious cases are linked to the thoughtless use of illegal fireworks," the police said in a statement.
These devices were "actual explosives", it added.
The police said they had seized firearms, gunpowder and detonators and were investigating 261 people as part of their raids against illegal fireworks.
Among the injured were a six-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy in Naples who were briefly hospitalised with burns caused by explosions.
There were several injuries in other parts of Italy too, including an 11-year-old Roma boy in Milan who lost three fingers when an unexploded firecracker he had picked up went off in his hand.
The biggest New Year parties were in Rome, where 300,000 packed the avenue leading to the Colosseum for a concert, and Venice, where 70,000 crowded into St Mark's Square dressed in white costumes and masks for an "All White" party.