Boy badly burnt in gas canister blast at BBQ

Last updated 13:00 29/01/2013

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A Motueka boy seriously burnt when a gas canister from a portable gas cooker exploded next to him is in Hutt Hospital.

The accident happened at the Kaiteriteri Motorcamp about 8pm on Monday. The 11-year-old was airlifted to Nelson Hospital by the Nelson Marlborough rescue helicopter. He was flown to Hutt Hospital last night.

St John team manager Gary Tobin said the boy suffered serious but not life-threatening burns to his upper body.

The boy was wearing a singlet and areas on his upper body not covered by his singlet, including his face, arms, neck and shoulders, were burnt.

The boy received first aid at the campground, including putting the burned areas under cold running water for about 20 minutes, Mr Tobin said.

Motueka St John also attended the accident.

Campground manager Paul Lovell said a paramedic staying at the campground had provided first aid assistance.

The boy was cooking whitebait fritters on a barbecue at his family's campsite, Mr Lovell said.

A small portable cooker, with a gas canister the size of a fly-spray can, had been placed on the side of the barbecue but was not in use. The heat from the barbecue caused the canister to explode.

The boy was thrown backwards into a tent by the explosion.

Motueka Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Mike Riddell said people using portable cookers needed to follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter.

It was only a small canister of gas, but the force that came out of it was enough to do significant damage, Mr Riddell said.

Any fuel in a pressurised container needed to be treated with respect, he said.

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