At least six people, including three children, were killed in India after a glass-sharpened string cut their throats during a festival.
The incidents were reported over the weekend at the International Kite Festival that took place in the western state of Gujarat. Alongside the deaths, 176 people were injured after suffering cuts and falls while flying kites during the festival, locally known as Uttarayan, Gujarat officials told Press Trust of India.
A total of 130 people were injured by kite strings, while an additional 46 sustained injuries after falling from heights while flying the kites on their rooftops. Ahmedabad district ranked highest with 59 reported kite-string-related injuries.
People came in large numbers to fly kites on their rooftops in the wake of the festivities. However, the celebrations turned tragic when deadly incidents took place over the weekend with victims identified in different cities across the state.
One of the deceased children was identified as 2-year-old Kriti who was riding with her father on his motorbike in Bhavnagar city when one stray kite string tore through her neck. She died while undergoing treatment at a hospital Sunday, a police official told the news outlet.
In another incident, a 3-year-old child, Kismat, died Saturday when a kite string slit her throat while she walking home with her mother in Visnagar town. She was rushed to a hospital where she was declared dead.
In the third incident, Rishabh Verma, 7, was riding with his parents on a two-wheeler in Rajkot after buying a kite when a string sliced into his neck.
Two adult men, identified as Swamiji Yadav, 35, and Narendra Vaghela, 20, were also killed by jagged-edged kite strings in Gandhidham city of Kutch district, NDTV reported.
The kite-flying festival usually sees revelers coming up with razor-sharp strings, coated in a mix of powdered glass and glue, which is potent enough to rapture human skin.
A day ahead of the festival, authorities urged residents to maintain caution while using the kite string sharpening technique, infamously known as “Chinese manja.”
“Do not use deadly Chinese manja to fly kites. The momentary fun of cutting your kite can be the punishment for someone else’s life! Celebrate the festival of Uttarayan but be careful while flying kites and don’t put your life or others at risk!” a tweet from the Gujarat police read.
The frenzy around kite flying also led to an uptick in road accidents, with 461 cases on Jan. 15 and 820 on Jan. 14, as per Press Trust of India. For years, kite-string injuries proved fatal to not only humans but also to scores of birds while in flight.