CHENNAI: A team-building exercise in Switzerland went horribly wrong when 25 people suffered burns after walking over hot coals, according to police. The incident happened at a corporate event organised by the marketing company Goldbach with nearly 150 people in the scene. It took place on the Au Peninsula near Lake Zurich on Tuesday.
According to the police, participants at the event walked over a bed of coals that was several feet long and complained of pain afterwards. At least 10 ambulances were summoned in the evening of the event to treat the injured. Twenty-five people were given medical treatment, of which thirteen were hospitalised with more serious injury.
Police have begun an investigation into the incident and gathered evidence from the site. It’s uncertain if there was an issue with the set-up of the coals or the way the participants walked over them that contributed to their injuries.
Several staffers sustained burns after taking part in a “voluntary” team activity that entailed walking barefoot over the glowing embers, says the CEO of Goldbach, Michi Frank. The fire walk was preceded by “appropriate preparation” and no one was forced to walk over the scorching embers, he insisted.
Walking across a bed of hot coals, often known as fire walking, is incorporated into charity or corporate events. It is employed as a part of motivational courses and charitable events. It is sometimes used by companies as part of team building exercise, which has been prevalent in UK as well. Fire walking is also a rite of passage or test in many parts of the world.