A Buddhist priest has been killed while performing a cremation after a funeral pyre exploded in front of him in Cambodia.
Hoeun Soeun, 72, was saying prayers while pouring petrol on wood to cremate a 20-year-old man who died in a motorcycle accident in Kampong Cham province.
Soeun Died of a Fatal Head Injury
Video footage shows the religious leader in white robes walking to the front of the kiln when the blast blows open the metal door. The priest was seen getting struck in the face by the steel door and falling to the ground. He suffered a catastrophic head injury and was killed instantly.
(The following video is graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised)
Police investigated the death at the pagoda in the Cheung Prey district and ruled the priest's death as accidental. They said that this was the first known accident of this kind at a funeral site.
Soeun Had Been Burning Corpses for Over 4 Decades
Deputy Police Chief Liutenant Colonel Seng Lino said that the priest had been burning corpses for more than 40 years and the incident happened while he set the corpse of the youth on fire with wood and 30 litres of gasoline.
"When the priest lit the corpse, the crematorium furnace exploded and the large steel door was blown off from the force," Lino said. "The door hit him on the forehead causing him to die instantly due to the serious injuries."
"The cause of the explosion is not known. The priest was very experienced and had performed thousands of cremations," he added.
Police said that due to the circumstances of the death, locals believe that the priest's body should not be cremated and his remains have been sent to his family for burial. The policeman said that the kiln was now being checked in order to ensure it is safe for future cremations.