Ian's Blog

Thailand Rocket Festival!!!

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A few Weeks ago I had the Chance to Go to the Si Sa Ket Rocket Festival in Thailand. My Mate Jeff asked Me to Join Himself and His Wife who comes from there to Join them so I couldn’t Miss the Opportunity. This is a Yearly Event in Easarn to Celebrate the End of the Dry Season and Make Merit and hopefully Bring Rain. Anyway it is a Spectacular Event and I asked a Couple of Friends along and ended up Driving the 1000 km Journey each way with a Full Pick up. Well Worth the Effort and had Lots of Fun and Laughs along the Way. I took lots of Photos along the Way so here is a Photographic record of one of the Rockets Journey!!!

This is the Rocket Being Primed By the Local Guys who made it. ***Note the Number of Layers of the Thick Plastic Pipe that make up the Casing.

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The Front of the Rocket. You can See how they Capped the End and it’s Size!

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Here the Rocket is at the Base of the Launch Tower. It is then Hoisted Upright!

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Rocket being Strapped to the Launch Tower. Safety First Guys???

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Once Completed the Rocket is Ignited By an Electric Cable. It has a Bulb near the Tower which Lights up to Signal the Ignition then WOOOSH!!!

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It makes a Hell of a Noise and a Tremendous amount of Smoke and takes a little While before it actually Lifts Off, Then it really Launches Fast!!! “Lift Off”

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The Acceleration and Noise is Incredible and I can Only Imagine what it must be like to See a Space Shuttle Launch!!! Truly Amazing!!! Off into the Wild Blue Yonder!!!

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I have No Idea how High they Actually Go But it is Really Hi and I am Guessing Easily Thousands of Feet!!! And I actually Witnessed the Spent Rocket descending back to Earth. I am Sure there has been Considerable Damage done in the Past by this happening? Our Entire Trip went without a Problem and I never Witnessed any Rocket Failures so they are Pretty Spot On with Their Construction and Launch Methods. But once we Returned to Chiang Mai a Friend Forwarded this Article to me from a Thai News Paper:

SAKON NAKHON: A man had his head blown off while watching an annual homemade rocket festival in this northeastern town on May 11.

The victim and his friends chose to have a drinking session in a cordoned off area where rockets were landing at the time of the incident.

Police were called to the scene in Village 3, Tambon Dong Mafai, Muang District, at 3:30 pm.

After pushing through a large crowd of villagers, they found the headless body of 29-year-old Prida Wongnatal lying next to a pond. The stump of his neck was blackened with powder burns.

Near the body, police found the rocket that had decapitated Mr Prida, who was a native of Tao Ngoi District.

The projectile was about three-meters long, its head made of PVC piping three to four inches in diameter.

Rescue volunteers who dived into the pond to recover Mr Prida’s head were only able to find small fragments.

Sakda Duangsupha, who witnessed the tragedy, said the rocket that killed Mr Prida was the third one launched at the festival. The first two had shot up into the air, but the third took a horizontal trajectory towards Mr Prida and six or seven friends who were sitting drinking about 50 meters away from the launch pad, located by the edge of the pond.

As they saw the rocket screaming towards them, the youths dived out of the way, but Mr Prida was not quick enough. After the impact, he fell back into the pond.

Pulling him out, his friends were shocked to discover that he had no head, Mr Sakda said.

The area where Mr Prida and his friends were drinking had been roped off because of the danger of rockets passing through. With a sense of invincibility typical of youth, the group ignored the warnings, Mr Sakda explained.

Police are now investigating to determine whether Mr Prida’s demise was a case of death by his own negligence or whether the festival’s organizers were responsible.

Rocket festivals are held annually in towns across the Northeast to mark the start of the rainy season. This is not the first, and no doubt not the last, tragedy at such festivals. In 1999, five people were killed at the Yasothon festival, the biggest and most famous of them all, when a 120kg rocket exploded immediately after takeoff.

We were Lucky!!! Well Worth the Trip and What an Amazing Experience not to be missed. All the Best.

Cheers Ian.

1 Comment

  1. Mae Hong Son

    May 28, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Wooo Who that looks like a LOT of fun, obviously in reality its quite dangerous as well haha but it looks like a blast ! Heading back to Northern Thailand in about 2 months and I cant wait to get back. Fantastic story Thanks.

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