Dramatic footage shows explosion at Paris carnival that left at least 18 injured
WARNING: Upsetting footage
A huge explosion rocked a popular French carnival, injuring at least 18 people.
Onlookers were hit by chunks of burning wood and other debris after the fireball erupted from the guy-style figure known as Mr Carnival which was made of straw and wood.
"Many are injured in the face, and all are in hospital," said Nathalie Crespin, a spokeswoman for the Paris fire brigade, adding that five were "in a very bad way."
Around 1,000 children were taking part in the Paris event, near the Charles de Gaulle airport.
Local authorities have described the incident in Villepinte as "accidental" and not a terrorist attack.
At least four people - including one child - were seriously injured in the blast.
It is understood that the explosion occurred when a scarecrow made of wood and straw was set alight on a bonfire during a Caribbean dance event.
Dramatic footage was posted to social media of the incident in Villepinte, a town north of Paris.
One eyewitness told Le Parisien that the person who lit the fire was projects several meters into the air.
Another said that they had seen a child "screaming and covered in blood."
They said that "to begin with, everyone thought the explosion was planned, then we realised something had gone terribly wrong."
A few hundred people, including local families, the mayor and other officials were waiting to watch the lighting of the 20ft high effigy when the explosion took place.
The fuel that was used to light the fighter had apparently been mishandled, Ms Crespin said , adding that the children injured were aged between two to 14.
Along with a few hundred members of the public, she said the mayor and other officials, had gathered to watch the lighting of the effigy.
France is in a state of emergency after Islamic extremist attacks in recent years but authorities said there was no sign of arson or terrorism in Saturday's explosion.
Additional reporting by agencies