Buddhist priest is killed when funeral pyre explodes during cremation in Cambodia

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Buddhist priest is killed when pyre explodes during cremation in Cambodia

  • Hoeun Soeun, 72, performed a cremation ceremony in Kampong Cham
  • He poured 30 liters of gasoline on the wooden pyre to burn the corpse
  • But the pyre then exploded and slammed a metal door against his head, causing him to die

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A Buddhist priest has been killed during a cremation after a pyre exploded in front of him in Cambodia.

Hoeun Soeun, 72, was praying as he poured gasoline on wood to cremate a 20-year-old man who died in a motorcycle accident in Kampong Cham province.

Footage shows the religious leader in white robes walking to the front of the oven when the blast suddenly blew off the metal door.

Buddhist priest killed during cremation after pyre exploded in front of him in Cambodia

Buddhist priest killed during cremation after pyre exploded in front of him in Cambodia

The retiree was punched in the face by the steel door and knocked to the ground.

He suffered a catastrophic head injury and died instantly.

Police investigated the death at the pagoda in Cheung Prey district and ruled the priest’s death “unexplained.”

They said it was the first known accident of this kind at a burial site.

Deputy Police Chief Lieutenant Colonel Seng Lino said the priest had been burning corpses for more than 40 years and that the incident happened as he set the boy’s corpse on fire with wood and 30 liters of gasoline.

The religious leader in white robes was walking to the front of the oven when the explosion suddenly blew the metal door

The religious leader in white robes was walking to the front of the oven when the explosion suddenly blew the metal door

The religious leader in white robes was walking to the front of the oven when the explosion suddenly blew the metal door

Hoeun Soeun (pictured in the frame), 72, was praying while pouring gasoline on wood

Hoeun Soeun (pictured in the frame), 72, was praying while pouring gasoline on wood

Hoeun Soeun (pictured in the frame), 72, was praying while pouring gasoline on wood

Local residents gather after the shocking incident on Saturday afternoon

Local residents gather after the shocking incident on Saturday afternoon

Local residents gather after the shocking incident on Saturday afternoon

Police investigated death at pagoda in Cheung Prey district and ruled priest's death 'unexplained'

Police investigated death at pagoda in Cheung Prey district and ruled priest's death 'unexplained'

Police investigated death at pagoda in Cheung Prey district and ruled priest’s death ‘unexplained’

He added: “As the priest lit the corpse, the crematorium oven exploded and the large steel door was blown away by the force.

The door hit him on the forehead, killing him instantly from serious injuries.

The cause of the explosion is unknown. The priest was very experienced and had performed thousands of cremations.’

Police said that due to the circumstances of the death, locals believe the priest’s body should not be cremated and that his remains have been sent to his family for burial.

The police officer said the kiln is now being checked to make sure it is safe for future cremations.

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