Vendors Provided Hydrogen Balloons Instead Of Helium Ones

Their two-year-old daughter’s birthday turned out to be an agonising day for Vipul Redey and Sumita Jaiprakash. The couple organised a party at the Prestige Shantiniketan Clubhouse in Whitefield on September 12 to celebrate the day which soon turned into a nightmare. Speaking to iamin, Sumita said, “We organised the party with the help of event planners. As a part of the decorations we asked for helium balloons. Instead of helium balloons, the vendors provided the event planners with hydrogen balloons. When the kids started playing with the balloons, one of the balloons touched the lights. As a result of hydrogen inside, which is a flammable gas, it caused an explosion.” Vipul’s nephew and niece who were closest to the balloon that exploded sustained burns. Sumita adds, “They suffered from burn injuries on their hands, arms, finger tips, forehead, face and ears too. Their eye brows and eye lashes were also burnt. Following this we immediately threw out all the 300 balloons outside the party hall fearing further damage.” She added, “My niece also suffered minor burns on her arms. Her hair too caught fire. There was lot of panic and confusion among the guests. Hearing them scream we poured water on them which did not prove to be effective. We took them to a nearby clinic and applied aloe vera cream to reduce the burning sensation.” More than 100 people were present at the party, 40 of them were children. She claimed that the explosion was so large that the table and chair closeby caught fire. Many of the small children at the party were shocked and began to cry. Sumita adds, “As my father worked at a defence research lab, he immediately realised that the gas used to fill the balloons was hydrogen and not helium. When the event planner contacted the balloon vendor they denied that hydrogen was used. We are going to file a complaint. The hydrogen balloons cost only Rs 10 per piece while the helium ones cost Rs 16. Since it is not easy to spot the difference between the two gases, hydrogen was used so that they could make more profit.” Vipul cautions, “The kids are fine now and there was no permanent damage. But the point is that we want this to not to happen to anyone. The same balloon vendor sells balloons to all the parties and celebrations that take place at Prestige Shantiniketan Clubhouse. This could have happened to anyone. We want to create awareness among people so that this does not happen to them.”

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