Schoolgirl, 10, in intensive care after being hit by stray firework from Buddhist funeral

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A ten-year-old schoolgirl is in intensive care with suspected brain damage after being hit by a stray firework from a Buddhist funeral in Thailand.

Natcha Sawasdee and her friends were walking out of the school gates when the wayward rocket smashed into her head in Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand, on March 29.

Paramedics rushed to provide first aid to the girl whose head was bleeding while lying unconscious on the pavement following the freak accident.

Natcha was rushed to hospital and admitted to an intensive care unit while medics performed emergency brain surgery from where the rocket had hit her skull.

The girl’s mother Patcharee Chuangjapoh said today (March 31) that her daughter who was still in the intensive care unit needed a respirator to breathe after the surgery. She is currently in a medically-induced coma.

She said: ‘My daughter had brain surgery but she isn’t better yet. She needs a respirator to breathe after her brain was damaged. We don’t know what will happen with her.’

Police Colonel Chanat Kaweekhaochalard said a funeral rite was being held next to the Ard Wittayakarn school when the rockets were lit. Buddhist followers believe the fireworks help the soul of the dead person ascend to heaven.

He said: ‘During the Buddhist funeral rite, two men were found to have lit the fireworks. We have initially arrested them on suspicion of recklessness causing serious injury to others while we investigate.’

Nonthakorn Phromket, 35, one of the men who allegedly lit the fireworks, said the rockets were directed to an empty field but the wind must have pushed it to the school.

He said: ‘I’m very sorry for the mistake that I have made. I will cover the girl’s medical expenses and won’t touch firecrackers again.’

Fireworks are normally used in Thai Buddhist festivals and religious rites but there are directed away from crowds of people or buildings. Locals believe the explosions are a form of good luck to see off the deceased on their journey into the afterlife.