A 13-year-old boy who stepped out of his home in Bhandup on Tuesday to fly a kite is now fighting for his life after sustaining nearly 95% burns when the kite string got entangled in high-voltage live tension wires. The boy, Mukesh Patel, is perhaps Mumbai’s first victim of electric shock caused by the increasingly popular Chinese maanja coming in contact with live cables.
“Mukesh, 13, a resident of Bhavani Nagar at Bhandup (E), was rushed to the Rajawadi hospital in a critical condition by the police in a mobile van,” said Rajaram Patade, assistant inspector of Kanjurmarg police station. He was later transferred to the National Burns Centre in Airoli.
The police suspect that Mukesh had used a Chinese-made kite string, which uses zinc — a metal — along with powdered glass.
Around 8am on Tuesday, Mukesh stepped out to play his favourite sport in an open ground close to Machi Koli Samaj at Bhavaninagar in Bhandup (E). In less than 30 minutes, his kite string got entangled in electric wires. “He had gone alone to fly his kite; he usually goes with friends. On either side of the playground, there are tall electric towers and wires,” said Vinod Patel, Mukesh’s maternal uncle.
Residents also heard an explosion, leading the police to believe that there may have been a tripping. “The boy was thrown 2ft away,” said Patade. Alerted by the explosion, locals informed the local police and the office of Tata Power.
A senior police officer said the use of Chinese-made kite strings is not banned in Mumbai. “If anybody is seriously injured due to Chinese strings or any locally-made string, the police will take serious action against the flyer.”
- Chinese-made kite strings use zinc-coating, along with powdered glass. They can be stretched more and can cut other kite strings easily
- They also cost only a tenth of the price of a traditional string, explains a shopkeeper from Mulund
- At least one similar case was reported in Bhatinda in Punjab in 2011 when a person was seriously injured after using Chinese-made string that got entangled in live wires