A British man has been killed in an accident with a firework at a New Year’s Eve party in Thailand, local police have said.
Gary McLaren, from Northamptonshire, died when a firework he was trying to light exploded in the seaside town of Pattaya.
The 50-year-old died at the scene, just after midnight.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said they were supporting the family of a British man who died in Thailand.
Lt Col Somboon Ua-samanmaitree of the Thai Tourist Police said: “Around midnight, Mr McLaren attempted to light up a large firework but it failed to go off at first. After that, it suddenly exploded and killed him at the scene.”
Police said Mr McLaren, who was originally from Corby in Northamptonshire, had visited Thailand before and arrived a few days before New Year’s Eve.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr McLaren worked in a technical role for the International Road-Racing Teams Association.
He previously spent 11 years working for the Suzuki MotoGP team, who tweeted they were “shocked and sad” to learn of his death.
The post said that he had “remained a good friend to us all while he continued working in the paddock for IRTA”, adding “we’ll really miss him”.
Other tributes on social media described him as “one of the most popular” members of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing community, a “great guy” and a “real professional”.
The Bangkok Post reported that police and rescue workers arrived to find a crowd of people and Mr McLaren lying on the ground with serious facial injuries. A large firework was found at the scene.
The paper said a witness described seeing the British man celebrating New Year’s Eve with friends. Mr McLaren tried and failed to light the firework before it suddenly exploded, the witness said.
The bar worker said she recorded Gary walking out of the bar to launch the fireworks.
She then shouted at him in dialect ”no, no, no, no, you can’t do that” before walking out to him.
But Gary stayed next to the pyrotechnic device, which then exploded.
Nopparat Munprom, 31, said: ”I stood outside the bar to watch the man releasing the fireworks.
”I saw that the firework was lit but the man did not move. He stayed looking at it.
”I said in Thai ‘the firework is working already, you have to move’ then I shouted ‘no, no, no, no, you can’t do that’ and started to walk out.
”Then the firework exploded in his face because he did not move and the colourful sparks came out in the street.
”Everybody ran over to check on the man and he had blood on his face.
”Last year people were doing this with small fireworks but this year they were much bigger and stronger.”