Explosion at Finke Desert Race Leaves Six Men with Severe Burns

Alice Springs, Australia – Northern Territory emergency services disclosed details of a campfire explosion at the Finke Desert Race that resulted in six Victorian men sustaining severe burns. The incident occurred as the men aged 18 to 23 were camping at C, about 30 kilometers south of Alice Springs, on a Saturday night.

Upon their arrival at the campsite, the group found a self-extinguished fire with a shock absorber next to it. Subsequently, they lit another fire, not realizing the potential dangers posed by the shock absorber, leading to the explosion and spraying of boiling oil and fluid on the group.

St John Ambulance promptly transported the injured men to Alice Springs Hospital for treatment. Two of them were later flown to Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital for specialized care, with one in stable condition and the other in serious but stable condition. The remaining three were airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, where they were also in stable condition.

Dan Adams, the director of retrieval services at the Alice Springs hospital, described the men’s injuries as significant, affecting all exposed skin due to the explosive nature of the incident. He highlighted the various injury patterns, with burns on hands, lower limbs, and faces depending on the individuals’ proximity to the explosion.

The incident caused a stir during the Finke Desert Race long weekend, which saw fewer injuries compared to previous years. St John Ambulance noted that broken bones were the primary concern, with over 30 patients assessed—less than in past events. Director of ambulance services, Andy Thomas, reported fewer fractures and serious injuries, suggesting improved safety measures have been effective.

Authorities acknowledged the positive impact of enhanced safety protocols, including a 30-meter exclusion zone around the race track, with NT Police praising the majority of attendees for adhering to the new rules. Acting Superintendent Budge commended the overall behavior at the event, indicating a successful implementation of the reinforced safety guidelines.