Employees of a marketing and advertising company in Switzerland had been offered a ‘firewalking’ activity
According to local media, 25 people were injured in a firewalking accident at a Zurich teambuilding event Tuesday. Local police call it a “internal corporate event.” “major operation”For the medical services.
“Firewalking kindles the inner fire and mobilizes unimagined strength,”The Swiss Aargauer Zeitung paper published an advertisement promising firewalking in mental and personality training. “Where a clear motive meets discipline, success cannot be far away,”You can also read another similar statement.
These slogans were apparently what prompted Goldbach AG – a conglomerate specializing in marketing and advertising, to book such an activity for its in-house teambuilding event. The supposed spirit-raising event didn’t go according to plan.
The local rescue service was alerted on Tuesday evening “several people had suffered burns after walking over hot embers,”In a statement, the police of the canton said so. The scene was attended by large numbers of police officers and rescue vehicles. Ten ambulances were also deployed, as well two medical emergency teams. Twenty-five people were in dire need of emergency medical care. “13 people [that] had to be hospitalized with serious injuries,”Police reported.
The incident has now been investigated. The issue was not addressed by the company. Goldbach CEO Michi Frank was at the event and stated that “a fire walk could be tried out as a voluntary team activity” during what was called the company’s “Sales Day.” “After appropriate preparation, the participants were allowed to walk barefoot over glowing pieces of charcoal,”The statement stated that many employees were involved in the incident. “suffered burns” “had to be treated on site… or taken to hospital.”
Iris Blaetter from Goldbach Communications, told journalists “the fire walk was voluntary.” “The message on site was: Nobody is forced, everything is voluntary,”She added.
The Swiss newspaper 20 Minutes is owned by TX Group which also owns GoldBach AG. It published an original story entitled: “After walking over glowing embers – 25 people injured, 13 of them seriously”However, the headline was quickly modified to “The firewalking was voluntary – we didn’t force anyone.” The article itself appears to be no longer accessible on the paper’s website.
A second story about the incident was then published by media. “Completely incomprehensible how 25 people could hurt themselves,”It featured guidance from a coach in firewalking and speculations on how long preparation should have taken.
It’s not clear what possible consequences this could have for the organizers of the event or the company responsible for the firewalking. The case has reportedly been taken over by the Swiss public prosecutor’s office, according to newspaper Klein Report.
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