Stray fireworks from a pre-match pyrotechnics display
struck three fans last night. Photo / Brett Phibbs
All Black fans ducked and screamed in terror as they were
struck by stray fireworks during a pre-match pyrotechnics
display at Eden Park last night.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew pledged to investigate after
one spectator wound up in hospital with serious head injuries
and two others were wounded by the misdirected missiles.
A spectator described the scene of panic as the deafening
boom from the fireworks caused parts of the 48,000-strong
crowd to duck below their seats.
They were then hit by what felt like shot-gun pellets, she
"When those explosions went off after the haka they gave us a
hell of a fright. We all ducked. They were so loud. Then
immediately afterwards people in front started screaming and
crying out as the injured ones got out of their seats and
shocked people were looking round trying to see where all the
blood had come from."
She saw a man and a woman with blood pouring from their head.
"There was blood splattered everywhere down the steps and
chairs. I don't think people realised what had happened until
the people got up with blood streaming down their faces."
The woman was taken to hospital but the man and a third
person returned to their seats after treatment.
The trio, who were seated separately in the southwestern
corner of the ground, were pulled over the barricades and
treated on the field.
Eden Park staff mopped up large amounts of blood that had
spilled down three concrete steps.
Tew comforted the injured after full time and invited them to
attend an official post-match celebration. He admitted
"something has clearly gone wrong", and 'profusely
apologised' to the injured.
"We will contact those who were affected this evening to
personally offer our apology."
He said the NZRU and Eden Park officials would work with
authorities to establish what had happened.
St John spokesman Robbie Walker confirmed one person had
suffered serious injuries.
The person was initially treated at the scene for the
injuries and then taken to Auckland City Hospital where they
remained in a stable condition last night.
A director at Van Tiel Pyrotechnics, who provide fireworks at
Eden Park, would only say the firm had previously had an
unblemished safety record.
A bumper Eden Park crowd of more than 48,000 saw the All
Blacks trounce the Wallabies 51-20 to retain the Bledisloe