Bomb Disposal Expert Left Blind In One Eye After Firework Exploded In His Face
A former bomb disposal expert is calling for stricter regulations on fireworks after one exploded in his face and left him blind in one eye.
The 55-year-old man, named Aksel, has undergone a numerous surgeries in an attempt to restore his eyesight following the incident, which took place last November.
Aksel left the Irish army after eight years experience of dismantling bombs and was holding a party at his home on Bonfire Night last year when one of the fireworks failed to go off. The former bomb disposal expert went to check the rocket when it unexpectedly exploded without firing into the sky.
The phosphorous from the firework hit Aksel directly in his left eye, leaving him blind.
Recalling the incident, he said:
I fired the first six rockets with no issues but the seventh rocket failed to take off and it stuttered at if it had gone out.
I turned to look at it and it exploded, the phosphorus hit my left eye and severed the muscle.
The 55-year-old described the sensation as ‘being hit in the head by a block of wood’. After realising how bad his injuries were, he was driven to Bath Hospital before being transferred to Bristol in the early hours of the morning.
In the year since the incident, Aksel has undergone 12 surgeries to reattach the eye to the surrounding muscle, with surgeons continuing to try to repair his eye and restore his sight.
He decided to share his story in order to raise awareness about the dangers of fireworks, even if you’d consider yourself experienced.
Aksel expressed his concern for the ease with which people can purchase fireworks, saying:
I can only see a shadow of my finger if I hold it close to my left eye.
My biggest concern is that people as young as 18 can purchase fireworks, which essentially are over-the-counter explosives.
I spent years in the army disposing bombs, so if it can happen to me it can happen to anyone.
Aksel said he would ‘love’ to see fireworks banned altogether, but at the very least he’s calling for people to use ‘heat masks, gloves, and other protective gear.’
The 55-year-old added:
What happened to me has been a difficult thing to deal with but being an adult it’s easier to process what went wrong and how to keep going, but if, for example, it hit a young child, I think the damage would have been much worse.
If we’re not going to ban fireworks all together, we need to start heading in the direction of creating a more informed approach to how we celebrate this night of the year.
His warnings come ahead of Bonfire Night, which takes place tomorrow (November 5). Though the celebrated day has not yet taken place, fireworks have already been the cause of tragedy this year with a puppy dying from a heart attack after being frightened by the loud rockets.
Bristol eye surgeon Kieren Darcy has said the number of ‘devastating eye injuries’ caused by fireworks has increased in recent years, the BBC News reports.
A government spokeswoman said there were no current plans to change the law surrounding the rockets.
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