A British man was killed on the stroke of midnight in Thailand after a firework exploded in his face.
Gary McLaren, 50, died while ringing in the New Year with his Thai fiancee and friends in the party resort of Pattaya, eastern Thailand, on December 31.
Mr. McLaren, who was originally from Corby, Northamptonshire, had been partying at the Miami A Go-Go bar before stepping outside and trying to light a 50cm cardboard tube packed with fireworks.
Onlookers said his initial attempts to light the fireworks failed, but he succeeded on a second attempt, causing smoke to pour out of the tube.
The fireworks then exploded in his face, knocking him to the ground.
Police and medics were called and performed chest compressions on Mr. McLaren, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Video from the scene showed Mr. McLaren’s partner, Jasmine, weeping and hugging his body.
Posting on Facebook after the accident, she wrote: ‘This is [our] last picture honey, you will be in my heart forever babe. RIP Gary McLaren.’
Rod Parsons added: ‘RIP my brother Gary McLaren
‘You were like a brother to me & I’ll always be forever grateful plus in your debt for everything you’ve done for me and my son Corey Parsons.
‘Rest in total peace my bro but you’ve been taken from us way too early. Love ya, buddy.’
Mike Cooperman, an American-born bar owner in Pattaya, posted a photo of Gary as Jasmine proposed to him inside a snooker bar in tribute.
He wrote: ‘I will always remember how happy you were that night. RIP Gary, a good friend, and brother.
‘Jasmine please accept our deepest condolences and to his family. If you need anything please let us know.’
Mr. McLaren listed his workplace as motorbike racing league MotoGP, though his exact connection to the sport is unclear.
He studied at Tresham College, near Kettering, before moving to Thailand, though still visited relatives in the UK – as recently as December this year.
At the time of the accident the area, which is best known for its strip clubs and brothels, was packed with revelers celebrating the New Year.
When they arrived at the scene of the accident, the Brit was laying on the ground with bloody wounds on his face. There was a pool of blood by his side.
Police Captain Nakhonrat Nontseelard said the British Embassy in Bangkok has been informed of the death.
Mr. McLaren’s body was taken away to a hospital for post mortem examination.