Six people, including three children, died during a kite festival in India after their throats were slit by kite strings. According to authorities, around 200 individuals also suffered cuts and falls while flying kites during mid-air battles at the Uttarayan festival in the western state of Gujarat.
The incidents were reported over the weekend as festival-goers flocked outside in big numbers to fly kites on rooftops and terraces. Officials claimed that in several of the cases, revelers allegedly used sharp kite strings that cut the victims' throats after entangling the throats of the victims. As a result, the victims bled to their deaths.
Tragedy Strikes Kite Festival
Six people, including two young girls and a boy, died after the razor-sharp cords used in the mid-air fights by the "kite fighters" entangled around their necks and severed their throats. Hundreds of people engaged in hazardous competitions known as "kite fighting," at the worldwide festival over the weekend flying their kites from rooftops and balconies.
The aim of the competition is to use kite strings during aerial combat to bring down other kites. However, since the string is strengthened with metal and even glass powder and is therefore sharp enough to cut through human skin or even electrical lines, it can be fatal for spectators and contestants.
According to local media, the sharp kite strings wound up around revelers' necks in a number of horrific instances, slashing their throats and forcing them to bleed to death.
Of the three children, a two-year-old girl was reportedly out with her father in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, when she got tangled in a kite string. According to NDTV, the girl eventually died from her injuries in the hospital.
In a separate tragic incident, a three-year-old girl's throat was slashed by a kite string as she walked home with her mother. She was brought to the hospital, but tragically also passed away, according to the TV station.
According to local authorities, a seven-year-old boy was also killed in front of his parents in Rakjot, India's fourth-largest city, after he had purchased a kite for himself.
Three men were also killed in a similar way. According to the police, kite strings during the popular festival also claimed the lives of three men in the Gujarati districts of Vadodara, Kutch, and Gandhinagar. The three have been identified as Swamiji Yadav, 35; Narendra Vaghela, 20; and Ashwin Gadhvi.
Besides, 46 people were hurt after falling from a height while flying kites across the state on Saturday and Sunday, while 130 more people reportedly had injuries, according to officials.
Kite-fighting competitions, which were included in Khaled Hosseini's book The Kite Runner, are notorious in India for leaving people dead or seriously injuring them.
In 2016, two died in Gujarat at the international kite festival.
Alok Goel, whose three-year-old daughter Saanchi was one of the two children killed in 2016, said she died within minutes. Saanchi was with her mother Neha when a kite string came flying down from the sky and sliced open her throat.