- Title: German zoo blaze caused by New Year gesture gone wrong - police
- Date: 2nd January 2020
- Summary: KREFELD, GERMANY (JANUARY 2, 2020) (REUTERS) KREFELD SENIOR PROSECUTOR JENS FROBEL AND KREFELD POLICE SPOKESPERSON GERD HOPPMANN AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (German) KREFELD SENIOR PROSECUTOR, JENS FROBEL, SAYING: "It was a mother and two adult daughters who lit these lanterns and sent them up in the sky." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS JOURNALIST (SOUNDBITE) (German) KREFELD POLICE SPOKESPERSON, GERD HOPPMANN, SAYING: "They wanted to start the lantern with good wishes, but of course they never imagined what could happen here. I have to say I find it very courageous. It takes bravery to report it to the police and say 'Yes, I think we are responsible for it'. I find that very decent and they have my respect." PHOTOGRAPHER (SOUNDBITE) (German) KREFELD POLICE SPOKESPERSON, GERD HOPPMANN, SAYING: "I have seen many human corpses as fire victims and I was struck by how like humans the bodies of the great apes looked when transformed by the fire." JOURNALIST TYPING NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS MOURNERS STANDING BEFORE CANDLES, FLOWERS AND STUFFED ANIMALS IN FRONT OF KREFELD ZOO VARIOUS OF CANDLES AT SITE CANDLES IN FRONT OF PICTURE FRAME CONTAINING PHOTOGRAPHS OF SOME OF THE ANIMALS WHO DIED MOURNERS / CANDLES WOMAN LAYING ROSES ON PAVEMENT TOY MONKEY PLACED AMONG CANDLES KREFELD, GERMANY (JANUARY 1, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BURNT DOWN MONKEY HOUSE IN KREFELD ZOO
- Embargoed: 16th January 2020 12:39
- Keywords: Germany Krefeld New Year's Eve fire monkey house police prosecutor zoo
- Location: KREFELD, GERMANY
- City: KREFELD, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Fires
- Reuters ID: LVA001BUHBFIF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A Chinese lantern, launched by a 60-year-old mother and her two adult daughters in a New Year's Eve celebration, caused the fire at a German zoo in which dozens of animals were killed, including eight great apes, authorities said on Thursday (January 2).
Police in Krefeld, near the Dutch border, said the three women turned themselves in on learning of the disaster in which five orangutans, two gorillas and a chimpanzee were killed, alongside bats and birds.
The women had bought five lanterns, banned locally and in most of Germany for over a decade, on the internet, believing that they were allowed on New Year's Eve, chief investigator Gerd Hoppmann told a sombre news conference.
The women had inscribed the lanterns, papier mache balloons lifted by the heat of the flame inside, with good wishes for the new year.
The zoo was festooned with candles and photos of the dead apes on Thursday, with nearby residents telling television stations how affected they had been by the deaths of the animals.
(Production: Erol Dogrudogan, Gabi Sajoz-Grimm and Elena Gyldenkerne)
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