Fireworks barge explodes in Australia, forcing beach evacuation

A spectacular fireworks display off an Australian beach New Year’s Eve turned from thrills to horror when a fireworks barge exploded in flames.

Two technicians on the barge dove into the water amid the shuddering eruption five minutes into the fireworks display off Terrigal Beach about 40 miles north of Sydney. They suffered only minor injuries and were treated on the scene by paramedics. 

Thousands of people watching on the beach were evacuated, the Newcastle Herald reported.

“The fireworks were going off as you’d expect and then suddenly there was a hell of an explosion. Next thing the barge was on fire,” a Terrigal resident told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Many spectators were initially unsure about what had happened. After the explosion, all of the fireworks suddenly erupted uncontrollably, even shooting into the crowd, as the barge burned.  Some spectators laughed and cheered while others, realizing what had happened, screamed and ran.It was the first time the fireworks display was resurrected after years with no show. It was organized by the owner of the Terrigal Surf Club who fundraised money to put on the display and spent much of the year getting the proper permits and insurance, the Herald reported.

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New Year's Eve celebrations around the world
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New Year's Eve celebrations around the world
KURESSAARE, ESTONIA, KURESSAARE, ESTONIA - 2018/01/01: Fireworks seen near the Kuressaare Castle during the New Years Eve. Kuressare is a town and a municipality on Saaremaa island and it's the capital of Saare County and the westernmost town in Estonia. (Photo by Hendrik Osula/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
People celebrate New Year with a fireworks show at the Binnenhof in The Hague, the Netherlands on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Sem van der Wal / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read SEM VAN DER WAL/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman take photos of fireworks during New Year's celebrations at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MAURO PIMENTEL (Photo credit should read MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty Images)
People kiss as fireworks go off during New Year's celebrations at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MAURO PIMENTEL (Photo credit should read MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode around the London Eye during New Year's celebrations in central London just after midnight on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks light up the sky during the Hogmanay New Year celebrations in Edinburgh. (Photo by David Cheskin/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Fireworks explode near the giant Ferris wheel of the London Eye on the South Bank of the River Thames as thousands gather to ring in the near year on January 1, 2018 in London, England. Crowds lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to see in 2018 with a spectacular fireworks display. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
EdinburghÕs Hogmanay Street Party fireworks light up the sky in Edinburgh during the Hogmanay New Year celebrations. (Photo by David Cheskin/PA Images via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 31, 2017: People light sparklers in Dvortsovaya Ploshchad (Palace Square) during New Year celebrations in St Petersburg. Alexander Demianchuk/TASS (Photo by Alexander Demianchuk\TASS via Getty Images)
Fireworks light up the sky over the London Eye in central London during the New Year celebrations. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Images are projected on the Arc de Triomphe monument as fireworks explode during a laser and 3D video mapping show as part of the New Year celebrations in Paris on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 31, 2017: Fireworks over central Moscow during New Year celebrations. Marina Lystseva/TASS (Photo by Marina Lystseva\TASS via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 31, 2017: People light sparklers as they watch fireworks over central Moscow during New Year celebrations. Marina Lystseva/TASS (Photo by Marina Lystseva\TASS via Getty Images)
Fireworks explode over Thermaikos gulf in Thessaloniki during the New Year celebrations on January 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAKIS MITROLIDIS (Photo credit should read SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Firework explode at the Erasmusbrug as part of New Year's celebrations in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Robin UTRECHT / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode by the Ancient Acropolis in Athens during the New Year celebrations on December 31, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode over Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on January 1, 2018, to usher in the new year. / AFP PHOTO / dpa / Andreas Arnold / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read ANDREAS ARNOLD/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode behind the quadriga of Berlin's landmark the Brandenburg Gate to usher in the New Year on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
New year fireworks at Chalkida seaside Evripos gulf, the famous crazy waters in Chalkida on January 1, 2018(Photo by Wassilios Aswestopoulos/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Bulgarians watch fireworks explode during New Year celebrations in central Sofia early on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Dimitar DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks explode from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House during the midnight fireworks display on New Year's Eve on New Year's Eve on January 1, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour\City of Sydney/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks explode from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House during the midnight fireworks display on New Year's Eve on New Year's Eve on January 1, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour\City of Sydney/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light the sky over the Bolshoy Kamenny bridge where Red square and Kremlin Palace are seen on background during the New Year's celebrations in Moscow, Russia on January 01, 2018. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - DECEMBER 31: Fireworks light up the sky as part of new year celebrations in Baku, Azerbaijan on December 31, 2017. (Photo by Resul Rehimov/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A picture taken on December 31, 2017, shows fireworks lighting the sky during celebrations to mark the New Year's eve celebrations in Abu Dhabi. / AFP PHOTO / NEZAR BALOUT (Photo credit should read NEZAR BALOUT/AFP/Getty Images)
People watch fireworks display during New Year Celebration in Manila on January 1, 2018. The Philippines is mainly Roman Catholic but the celebrations draw on ancient superstitions and Chinese traditions in which the noise from firecrackers is meant to drive away evil spirits and bring good luck in the coming year. Adding to the danger of annual fireworks celebrations in the streets, there are over 1.2 million unlicensed firearms in the Philippines and some of those are used in the festivities. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - DECEMBER 31: A man prepares to set off a firework during the new year celebrations at the Selamat Datang Monument in Jakarta, Indonesia on December 31, 2017. (Photo by Anton Raharjo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Fireworks go off at the Lotte World Tower on January 1, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. The Lotte World Tower, the 555 meter-tall skyscraper, is the fifth tallest in the world and celebrated the upcoming PyeongChang 2018 Olympics as well. (Photo by Seung-il Ryu/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Fireworks explode over the Selamat Datang Monument in downtown Jakarta on January 1, 2018 during New Year celebrations. / AFP PHOTO / BAY ISMOYO (Photo credit should read BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - DECEMBER 31 : Fireworks light up the sky over Petronas Towers during New Year's Eve celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on December 31, 2017. (Photo by Alexandra Radu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TAIPEI, TAIWAN - JANUARY 1: Fireworks light up the Taiwan skyline and Taipei 101 during New Years Eve celebrations just after midnight on January 1, 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan. (Photo by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Fireworks illuminate the sky near Malaysia's Petronas Twin Towers during New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01 : The Sydney Harbour Bridge seen during the midnight fireworks display on New Year's Eve on Sydney Harbour on 1st of January 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Philip Brown/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks above the Opera House and Harbour Bridge for New Year's Eve on January 1, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. Over a million people gathered around the harbour to watch the 12 minute celebration for the start of 2018. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)
Fireworks light the sky over the Lotte World Tower, a 123-floor and 1821-foot (555 m) building, after midnight during a countdown event to celebrate the New Year in Seoul, South Korea on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
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