Safety alert issued after flare explosion fatality

Image for illustrative purposes only
Image for illustrative purposes only

The Dutch Safety Board has published an urgent Safety Alert following a recent accident that killed a sailor as he fired a flare. The incident happened on board a Dutch sailing ship in the Pacific Ocean.

Complying with the flare’s requirements and instructions, the experienced sailor fired the flare. The flare did not launch as intended, but exploded immediately with fatal consequences.

After becoming aware of the accident, the Dutch Safety Board started a preliminary investigation. From the initial analysis of the available information, the investigators have not yet been able to determine whether this is a one-off accident or if a more structural problem exists. But given the nature of the incident, there is a risk that it is not a one-off incident.

Because of this risk, contact has been made with the manufacturer in Spain. The Spanish manufacturer has warned its customers in Spain and is recalling the specific batch. Because these products are sold only in Spain, the warning of the Spanish manufacturer is aimed specifically at Spanish customers.

The accident, however, highlights that other potential users of these flares are also located outside Spain.

As part of this safety alert, the Dutch Safety Board warns anyone owning Red Rocket Parachute Flares from Pirolec, type L-35/ L35A, batch 0525/2021 – 113, not to use these but to arrange to replace them.

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