Man dies after 'drunkenly hugging firecracker' during New Year celebrations in the Phillippines

There were around 384 firework-related injuries in the Philippines this year

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The Independent Online

A man died during New Year's celebrations in the Philippines after he drunkenly hugged a lit firecracker.

Ronald Vericio, 45, hugged the "Goodbye Philippines" firecracker moments after midnight, the Manila Bulletin reports.

The pedicab driver from Santa Mesa, Manila, was rushed to hospital but declared dead at 1:45am.

Kristina Serrano, Mr Vericio's live-in partner, told police she told her already-drunk husband not to go out of the house to light firecrackers, but he snuck out.

The "Goodbye Philippines" firecrackers are illegal in the Philippines - many have been confiscated in the run up to the New Year.

There were around 384 firework-related injuries in the counry this year, according to the Philippine Star.

The majority of cases involved children less than 14 years old, the Department of Health said. Nine children had their fingers amputated due to firecracker-related accidents. 

In the capital, officials said thousands of families were left homeless when an abandoned hut was set on fire, leading to the destruction of 1,000 homes in the Tondo slum district.

Many superstitious Filipinos welcome the New Year with powerful firecrackers, in the hopes of bringing good luck and driving away evil spirits.

The Department of Health are seeking to implement a total firecracker ban in the Philippines in 2016.