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Wednesday, July 15, 1998 Published at 08:45 GMT 09:45 UK


Hot-footing it!

Walking on hot coals: insurance staff followed in the footsteps of Indian fakirs

Seven British insurance sales staff on a motivation course needed medical treatment after attempting to walk on hot coals.

Geoff Wagland, from Eagle Star: "Sometimes things do go wrong"
The Eagle Star insurance trainees were taken to hospital with burns when the coals they were walking over turned out to be red-hot instead of merely glowing.

Two of the staff were so badly hurt they had to be transferred to the specialist burns unit of a hospital 40 miles away in Bristol, where they were kept overnight. They may need skin grafts.

The accident happened at a hotel in Gloucestershire where Eagle Star regularly holds courses for its staff.

The 10 trainees were sales staff attached to Eagle Star Life, the company's life-assurance arm.

The fire walking exercise was part of an intensive training course on team work and motivation, run by an outside agency.

A spokeswoman for the company said an investigation was being held into the incident.

She said: "Obviously something went very wrong and seven of the staff ended up with burns and some had serious burns.

"Some are now back at work, but others are still recuperating at home.

"Walking on the coals was not compulsory but ... they felt they wanted to do it."

She could not explain why the trainees continued to walk on the coals having seen some of their colleagues being burned.

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