Midsummer celebration passes with a few unfortunate incidents

The Latvian Emergency Medical Aid Service remained on duty June 23 to take care of injuries during Midsummer celebrations across the country, reported the LETA newswire.

Ligo and Jani festivities celebrate the summer solstice and ancient pagan traditions. Essential elements include drinking beer and jumping over bonfires, so it is not surprising there are a few injuries along the way.

A number of people fell into the flames when trying to keep to the tradition.

In the past 24 hours paramedics helped 20 people, who sustained burns while lighting bonfires, trying to jump over the flames or operating barbecue grills. In 18 cases the injuries were severe enough to require hospitalization of patients.

In addition, four people, including a six-year-old girl, were taken to hospital with dog bites, and another four were hospitalized with various injuries after falling from heights, including a drunken couple, who had lost their balance when climbing the stairs.

There were also four accidents involving a lawn mower, a scythe and, on two occasions, an axe.

The State Fire and Rescue Service reported that two men drowned in Lake Rija in Vecpiebalga discrict.

The Emergency Medical Aid Service responded to altogether 1,257 medical emergencies over 24 hours. Although the total number of emergencies was not much high than the usual average, the number of injuries has doubled during the Midsummer festivities.

State police, who are conducting widespread checks on motorists, reported issuing more than 600 tickets for offenses including speeding and also caught 14 drunk drivers and one drugged driver on June 23. 

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