At least eleven people were injured tonight, two of them seriously, during the climax of a fireworks display that ended the halftime show at the Orange Bowl.
Neither the names of the injured nor the full extent of their injuries was immediately available. Two were hospitalized, one with an eye injury, one with a chest injury.
According to several eyewitnesses, a flaming rocket landed in the stands near the right corner of the end zone, and several of the victims were either hit by debris or were burned by what one injured fan described as a "horrible ball of fire."
"I was just sitting there and a big old fireball just came into the stands," said E.S. Beaver of Midwest City, Okla. "It hit just to the left of us. There was fire and smoke and my pants leg caught on fire. It all happened in about 10 seconds. My wife beat it out with her hands, and I'm all right.
"I was in there (a first-aid station where the injured were being treated) and it's kind of a madhouse. One girl has a bandage over her eye, another girl looked like she was hit in the chest. It's really scary. I just feel real lucky to be alive," Beaver said.
As Beaver and his wife were talking with a reporter, Bob Hildreth, a member of the Orange Bowl Committee, came over to comfort them. "We are just so sorry for this," he said.
"We think it came from the other side of the field, but we are still not sure how it happened. We've had these displays here for years and years, and nothing like this has ever happened," Hildreth said.