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A British man has died in Thailand after a firework exploded in his face while he welcomed in the new year with his fiancée.
Gary McLaren, who was originally from Corby, Northamptonshire, had been ringing in the new year with his Thai fiancée and friends at the party resort of Pattaya, eastern Thailand on December 31.
It’s reported McLaren, 50, was partying at the Miami A Go Go bar before stepping outside to attempt to light a 50cm cardboard tube full of fireworks.
According to witnesses, he had already failed to light to the fireworks once, before succeeding on a second attempt, which caused smoke to pour out of the cardboard tube.
The fireworks are then said to have exploded in his face, knocking him to the ground in the process.
Emergency services were called and performed chest compressions on the man, however he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Footage filmed at the scene showed McClaren’s fiancée Jasmine sobbing and hugging his body, which lay beneath a sheet in the street.
Taking to Facebook after the harrowing incident, she wrote:
This is [our] last picture honey, you will be in my heart for ever babe. RIP Gary McLaren.
Tributes began pouring in for the ex-pat, with one friend writing:
RIP my brother Gary McLaren.
You were like a brother to me & I’ll always be forever grateful plus in your debt for everything you’ve done for me and my son.
Rest in total peace my bro but you’ve been taken from us way, way too early. Love ya buddy.
American-born Mike Cooperman, who owns a bar in Pattaya, shared a photo of Gary as he proposed to Jasmine inside a snooker bar.
I will always remember how happy you were that night. RIP Gary, a good friend and brother.
Jasmine please accept our deepest condolences and to his family. If you need anything please let us know.
McLaren studied at Tresham College near Kettering, before he moved to Thailand. However, he was regularly back in the UK visiting family, with his most recent trip taking place last month, before Christmas.
At the time of the accident, the area, which is best known for its strip clubs and brothels, was packed with revellers celebrating the new year.
When emergency services arrived at the scene, they found him lying on the ground with wounds to his face.
Police Captain Nakhonrat Nontseelard said the British Embassy in Bangkok has been informed of the death.
McLaren’s body has since been taken away for a post mortem.
Rest in peace.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via its national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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