ONE person is in a critical condition and almost a dozen others have been left with severe burns after a flash fire engulfed spectators at the Red CentreNATS car festival in the Northern Territory. Videos below.
The horrific scenes unfolded at the Alice Springs Inland Dragway in Alice Springs on Sunday afternoon when petrol from a car competing in a burnout competition ignited.
The sudden and intense fire ripped through the crowd after the flaming fuel was sprayed into the audience.
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Event organisers released a statement on Sunday evening, confirming a dozen spectators were set alight.
“Northern Territory Major Events Company can confirm that an incident at the Alice Springs Inland Dragway involving a flash fire from a competition car has resulted in burn related injuries,” the statement read.
“Twelve patients are currently being treated at Alice Springs Hospital.”
One man is in a critical condition with life-threatening burns.
Eleven other people are listed as being in a serious but stable condition.
It’s understood some patients will need to be airlifted to a larger hospital for specialist burns treatment.
Spectators who were filming the competition on their smartphones captured the moment the fuel ignited.
“This is a distressing situation,” the event company said.
“… [we] acknowledge the respect that attendees gave to the situation and encourage any spectators affected to seek support and medical assistance.
“All patients are receiving the care they need.
“If you have concerns for friends and family please contact the Alice Springs Hospital on (08) 8951 7777.”
The incident is believed to have occurred during one of the last competitions of the day.
Thousands of car enthusiasts from every corner of the country flocked to the red centre for the three-day event, dubbed the “ultimate festival of wheels”.
The burnout competition is promoted by organisers as “the most outrageous and exciting part”.
Gates were set to close at 4pm before the podium party kicked off at the Alice Springs Convention Centre, but the event was called off immediately following the fire.
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident.
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