Brit, 50, killed after New Year firework explodes in his face in Pattaya

A British man was killed on the stroke of midnight after trying to let off a fireworkwhich exploded in his face.

Gary McLaren, 50, was ringing in the New Year with friends in the nightlife resort of Pattay on December 31.

He stepped outside the Miami A Gogo strip bar surrounded by dancers on the street celebrating the arrival of 2020 and produced a 50cm tube packed with rockets.

Moments later when Gary, from Corby, Northamptonshire, twice tried to light the firework, it exploded in his face killing him on the spot.

His devastated Thai wife was seen crying as she held his dead body as friends stood round in shock – their  celebrations flipped from joy to horror.

Onlookers said Gary had tried to set off the firework with a lighter but that failed. He tried a second time and smoke poured from the device before it exploded in his face, knocking him backwards onto the ground.

Paying tribute to Gary, his Thai wife, Jasmine, said: ”Gary will be in my heart forever.”

Speaking in the video, bar worker Wassana Ngontai, who witnessed the death, said: ”I saw the man try to set off the fire work. He tried to do it two times, The first time didn’t work. The second time smoke came out. The man didn’t move, then there was a big explosion in his face and he fell back.”

Police said that many revellers had been celebrating the New Year in the area, which is best known for its seedy strip clubs and round-the-clock prostitution.

When they arrived at the scene of the accident, the Brit was laying on the ground with bloody wounds on his face. There was a pool of blood by his side.

Police Captain Nakhonrat Nontseelard, Deputy Deputy Minister of Investigation, Pattaya City Police Station, said: ”We were notified that somebody had been killed by an explosion on Pattaya Beach Soi 13/2.

”Rescue personnel who attended to the injured person performed chest compressions but it was too late as he was already dead.

”There was a firework at the scene which the victim was trying to light. We have kept that as evidence and will investigate the incident.”

Police said that the British Embassy in Bangkok has been informed of the death. Gary’s body was taken away to a hospital for post mortem examination.

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