Three years ago, Charlotte Swaby of Wath-upon-Dearne, South Yorks, UK, decided to celebrate her birthday and had a party with her friends at a bar in Barnsley. Her group convinced her to down a “Flaming Lamborghini” sambuca cocktail, a birthday tradition amongst them.
She was accompanied by eight friends, who even took a picture a split second before the drink exploded in close proximity to her face. Following the incident, she suffered severe burns and sued the bar’s owners.
The £15 ($24 / €19) drink is usually lit up before being ingested, but, this time, it blew up, setting Charlotte's face and hair on fire, the Sun
“But the waiter was shaking as he was preparing it, I don’t think he knew what he was doing,” she said.
Her face suffered the most, because she was drinking the cocktail with a short straw. Luckily, she had her eyes closed, while tasting the liquor, otherwise her vision might have been impaired.
“I was also given a normal straw instead of a party straw, so I was nearer the flames as I started drinking,” she added.
At first, she wasn't aware of the fact that she had caught fire. As she felt a strong pain in her ear and touched it, she realized what had happened.
“My ear was hurting so I clamped my hair to it not realising it was on fire. […] I think I heard a bang. It felt like a lifetime, but it took 10 or 12 seconds to put out the flames,” Charlotte described.
She had to be hospitalized for second-degree burns. The 22-year-old sued the venue for causing her physical and mental distress, and won the suit, three years later. Charlotte currently works as a school administrator, and the club where the incident happened is no longer open.