New Year's Eve 2017: exploding cannister blamed for fireworks mishap at Terrigal celebrations

THE ORGANISER of Terrigal’s New Year’s Eve celebrations has declared that the show will go on in 2018, despite a “freak” fireworks mishap that derailed this year’s festivities. 

Businessman David Lambert spearheaded a crowd-funding campaign that helped raise the roughly $40,000 needed to bring celebrations back to Terrigal for the first time in years.

In the lead up to the event, he asked the owner of Hunter-based pyrotechnics company Ka-Boom Fireworks if it could give Terrigal “the best fireworks on the coast”. 

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“He said: ‘we’re going to make them really good for you’,” Mr Lambert recalled. 

“I was sitting right in front of the fireworks with my grandkids and my children and it was the most amazing fireworks I’d ever seen.

“I went ‘bloody hell, this is a winner’. It wasn’t supposed to be that good, I don’t think.” 

SafeWork NSW is investigating Sunday’s incident, which saw an explosion above the barge carrying the fireworks a few minutes into the 9pm display. 

The Newcastle Herald understands it is believed to have been caused by a firework that exploded inside its canister, triggering a domino effect where other fireworks ignited that weren’t ready to explode. 

Two technicians were forced to dive into the water and swim to safety as the barge caught alight, while revellers were evacuated from the foreshore.

The technicians were shaken but uninjured. 

It was a cruel turn of events for Mr Lambert, the former president of the Terrigal Chamber of Commerce, after he devoted hundreds of unpaid hours towards getting the event off the ground. 

“I was very upset because seriously, it was a one-man vision,” he said. 

“I was told it wouldn’t happen, I was told to give up, I couldn’t get the funding. In about June I was close to cancelling it, because we were just so short of money. 

​“But one thing led to another and more people came on board. I had an incredible amount of support.” 

Mr Lambert had to secure public liability insurance and relevant approvals from Central Coast Council and emergency services. 

Ka-Boom Fireworks was recommended to him by a council officer, he said. 

“We did everything by the book,” Mr Lambert said. “It was just a freak thing. 

“I’m going to have a crack again this year … look, the Titanic sank and we’ve still got steam boats.”

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