6 Killed by Razor-Sharp Kite String During Festival

Victims include 3 children, Indian authorities say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2023 4:41 PM CST
6 Killed by Razor-Sharp Kite String During Festival
People fly kites during Makar Sankranti festival in Hyderabad, India, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023.   (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

Razor-sharp kite string killed at least six people, including three children, during the annual kite-flying festival in India's Gujarat state, authorities say. At least 176 others were injured, many in falls from rooftops, during the Uttarkand festival, which marks the end of winter, LBC reports. Authorities say the six people killed all had their throats cut by kite wire. The victims included a 2-year-old girl, a 3-year-old girl, and a 7-year-old boy. Most of the victims were on bicycles when they were killed by the strings, which kite flyers use to cut the strings of their rivals, reports the New York Post. Kites of all shapes and sizes are flown in cities and towns throughout the state during the festival.

Every year, deaths and injuries at India's many kite festivals are caused by a string material known as Chinese manjha, made of polymers coated in glass, the Tribune reports. The sale, manufacture, and use of Chinese manjha was banned in 2017 but it is still widely sold—and at one-third the cost of traditional cotton kite strings, it's a popular choice. "Unlike a cotton dor which has no continuity of fiber and can break easily, this plastic-like string becomes razor sharp when stretched," says Dr. Sanjeev Uppal, former head of plastic surgery at a hospital in Punjab state. "Severe injury can be caused if it pierces the skin, especially the face and neck."

(Read more India stories.)

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