Two young Matlock friends had their New Year celebrations ruined after suffering serious injuries from a firework.
Pals Tom Allen, 20 and Anna Maher, also 20, were amongst scores of people at Crown Square when a firework landed in the crowds just after midnight.
Tom, who was directly hit by the firework, suffered a huge burn to his back and loss of hearing in his right ear, while Anna suffered burns to her arms and a burst eardrum. They were both taken to hospital.
“It completely ruined New Year, 100 per cent,” Tom said.
“It is awful that someone would do such a thing and put so many people at risk.
“With what is going on in the world it is worrying when a big bang goes off.
“We had a lucky escape because someone could have been blinded.”
Following the incident, plant operator Tom took to Facebook to tell of his disgust and post pictures of his injuries. His appeal for information was shared by almost 2,000 people and had more than 100 comments.
Tom told the Mercury: “About five minutes after the countdown I remember a big bang and an explosion going off.
“I was in complete shock. It was a high pitch noise and everything went in slow motion.
“I hope the person responsible does not do it again.”
Anna, who is a business services assistant, was already partially deaf in one ear before the incident, suffered damage to her other ear meaning she is struggling to hear at all now.
She said: “Initially I thought a bomb had gone off but once I’d become a bit more aware of the situation and as I saw my arm I realised it only seemed to be me and Tom that had been injured.
“In terms of events like this in the future I can’t be sure how I’ll be but I know I’ll be very untrustworthy of situations like this again and may choose to stay out of the way. I planned to have an informal event involving fireworks for bonfire night this year that I may now reconsider but at this time I can’t really say how I will feel in future.
“At the hospital they told me I have blown my ear drum meaning I won’t be able to hear for a few weeks; I’m yet to see a specialist to find out any long term details but the doctor in A&E said it should fully recover. I’ve also got a burn on my arm that will hopefully heal without any scarring.”
A spokesman for Derbyshire Constabulary said a person has been voluntarily interviewed and an investigation is ongoing. Call police on 101, quoting reference number 17000000061.