Man dies after petanque ball exploded ‘like a grenade’

A Dutchman has died five days after being struck in the head by a pétanque ball that exploded “like a grenade” during a bachelor party in Belgium.

The unnamed 37-year-old tourist from Eindhoven, passed away as a result of the explosion in the town of Stavelot on the evening of May 13.  It has been alleged that the man and his dozen-or-so friends placed the pétanque balls in and around a fire pit, but one got so hot that it exploded, with pieces hitting the man and reportedly burning his entire face and embedding metal shards into his skull.

A second Dutchman also suffered light injuries. The dead man’s family, who have asked for privacy so they can grieve, said: “We are shocked by the sudden death, he will be greatly missed.”

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A shocked neighbour told the local media what he saw and heard in the aftermath of the incident. He said: “Fifteen minutes later we saw an ambulance arriving. 

“Then we heard a medical helicopter circling above. Then I knew it was for the holiday home

“We heard the paramedics talking among themselves. So someone was seriously injured – his whole face was burned.”

The man was transferred by helicopter to the University Hospital in Liege, where he was placed in a medically induced coma.

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The Stavelot-Malmedy Police, who are investigating, said: “At this time it is unclear what happened, but it appears that a petanque ball was thrown into the flames which would have caused the device placed in the garden to explode

“It had the same effect as a grenade. When the ball exploded, pieces flew into the back of someone’s skull.”

This is not the first time someone has been killed by a pétanque ball – in 2018, a Frenchman tragically died in similar circumstances when the ball was left by a barbecue and it exploded.

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