A fireworks display run by Ards and North Down Council had to be cancelled last night (Saturday) due to a low tide, leaving thousands of people disappointed.
The cancellation was announced at the last minute before the show was due to start at Seapark, near Holywood.
The fireworks were situated on a pontoon on Belfast Lough but logistical problems meant the show could not go ahead.
A spokesperson from the council has apologised and said a low tide had stopped them getting to the fireworks. It has published an apology on Facebook.
The annual Halloween display draws crowd of between 5,000 and 10,000 people.
Seapark Fireworks: With great regret we were forced to cancel tonight’s display. We worked to the last minute but were unable to make it happen. We appreciate this was very disappointing and would like to thank everyone who stuck with us while we tried to resolve the problem.
— ArdsandNorthDown (@ANDborough) October 27, 2018
We recognise the frustration expressed by many people on social media this evening – in the main around lack of communication regarding the cancellation of the fireworks.
We would like to try to address some of the issues.
1) The reason for the cancellation
At Seapark, the fireworks are released from a pontoon. This was securely set up this morning. To light the fireworks a boat has to travel from the slipway to the pontoon; this takes place around 10-15 mins before the display is due to begin. Due to the low tide we were aware the boat would need assistance to get into the water and had a telehandler (small forklift) in place to help move the boat. Due to the ‘sludgy’ ground the telehandler’s movement was restricted and couldn’t get the boat into the water. Efforts were then made to manually push the boat into the water but this was unsuccessful. Up until the event was cancelled our staff and contractors were working to try to get the boat into the water.
Announcements regarding a delay were made on site before 8pm, at 8.10, 8.30 and 8.40. During this period we believed it would be possible to move the boat into the water and proceed with the display.
Stewards made their best efforts to communicate the latest information to those in attendance face-to-face as they moved across the site.
The site is large, however, and we know wind conditions can adversely impact on the reach of the tannoy system.
3) Rescheduling of the fireworks
At this stage it is too early to confirm if we can reschedule the fireworks for another date.
We would again reiterate our sincere apologies for the cancellation and thanks to all those who came out to support the event. Our staff and contractors share everyone’s disappointment that we were unable to deliver the fireworks and end what had been a very enjoyable afternoon/evening for people in the way we had intended.