A Dunedin man is facing the prospect of blindness in one eye after being struck by debris at the city’s public fireworks display.
Wayne Boss was watching the city council-run fireworks display when the rogue piece of debris hit his right eye, throwing him to the ground.
“I’m looking up at the Dunedin council Octagon building where the fireworks are being set off and it's black obviously. And just for a split second I saw an object which I thought was a spent rocket. But we are talking milliseconds because then I get a blow to my right eye which was so hard it just floored me.”
Wayne’s son Ben also saw the object come out of the sky but wasn’t sure what it was.
“I turned my head in a matter of milliseconds, I saw the object strike him in the eye.”
“It looked like debris or a fragment or some black object that was moving very quickly from the sky.”
The family were driven to the hospital by police where eye surgeons performed surgery until 4am.
However the damage is so significant, Wayne may not regain his sight.
“I’ve just been back to see the eye surgeon and he said the lens is at the rear of my eye, the pupil is in three parts and it will need at least another two operations, and well, he said a very long time recovery. I’m just worried that I won’t see.”
If you can’t enforce a safe display it shouldn’t really be going on"
A keen cyclist and skier, Wayne and his family were planning on going to Japan this year.
“Even the surgeon's absolutely shocked by what’s occurred and the damage to my eye. And it should have been just an enjoyable time. We only planned to be there half an hour and go home.”
Wayne has spoken to WorkSafe about the incident and he and his family want answers as to what went wrong.
“You go to events like that because they are meant to be safe. It’s a public event and people go there so they can experience fireworks in a safe environment where they don’t have to deal with them themselves. And if you can’t enforce a safe display it shouldn’t really be going on,” Ben Boss told 1 NEWS.
A WorkSafe spokesperson says they are making preliminary inquiries into the incident to determine whether they will investigate.
A Dunedin council spokesperson says the council fully supports the response of WorkSafe NZ in investigating the incident and awaits the outcomes and any recommendations on its completion.