Greater Taitung police yesterday said that the uncle of a seven-year-old girl was responsible for the girl’s death on Monday night after the man set off a large bottle rocket firework, which hit the girl in the throat and killed her.
The girl, surnamed Yang (楊), was watching her uncle set off the fireworks near her house along with four of her siblings and teenage neighbors before one of the rockets, named an Apple Rocket, went sideways, instead of into the air. She was standing 5m or 6m away from where the rocket was launched, police said.
Taitung police said they initially suspected a teenager had set off the firework.
However, Yang’s uncle later said he was responsible, they said.
The 38-year-old man told police he placed the rocket in an empty beer bottle and lit the fuse with a cigarette, but the beer bottle toppled as the rocket went off.
Police said the man would likely be charged with manslaughter.
Police said the Yang family lived in New Taipei City (新北市), and they returned to their hometown in Taitung County during the Lunar New Year holiday.
When the girl was hit by the firework, the girl’s aunt and neighbors tried to staunch the heavy bleeding before the child was taken to a surgical clinic, police said.
She was transferred to Taitung Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 10pm, they said.
Police said that an autopsy had found there were blood clots blocking the girl’s trachea and that she died from suffocation.