Two men died and another was hospitalised when they were electrocuted during the annual Hpaung Daw U Pagoda Festival in Shan State on Monday.
The deceased — 20-year-old San Tun Naing and 16-year-old Chan Nyein Thu — were taking part in the festival, held each year on Inle Lake, when a flag pole on the boat they were using to pull a barge carrying Buddha images touched an overhead electrical line.
“They had a flag on their boat flying from a steel pole. The pole hit an 11-kV power cable running overhead, and they died instantly,” said Myint Naing, an official in the Electricity Department, adding that a third man also sustained injuries in the incident.
“A third person who was also injured has been sent to a local medical centre where he is receiving treatment and is in a stable condition,” he said.
Than Win, a member of the Hpaung Daw U Pagoda Trustee Committee and an organiser of the event, said the incident would not affect the schedule of the festival.
“They should have laid down the flag pole when the boat went underneath the cable. It was a dangerous mistake,” said Than Win.
“But it’s not going to affect the festival, as the incident only happened during the parade but not at the actual site. I would like to urge visitors to still come and join the event.”
The Inle Hpaung Daw U Pagoda Festival will take place this year from 2 to 19 October.