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Young magician fails acid test on reality TV show

Update: January, 13/2015 - 08:34
Dangerous game: Tran Tan Phat (left) performs his stunt with assistance from the show's judge, musician Bui Huy Tuan. Out of five glasses filled with a colourless liquid, he was supposed to avoid drinking from the one that contained acid. Nervous about performing in the semi-final round, Phat's second choice was the wrong glass. He is recovering from the accident. — Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — A semi-final contestant mistakenly gulped down a sulfuric acid solution while performing a magic stunt in the Viet Nam's Got Talent show broadcast live on channel VTV3 on Sunday.

Tran Tan Phat, 22, had wowed audiences and judges in the previous round by swallowing needles.

In his latest attempt to make the audience's hair stand on end, he asked one of the judges, musician Bui Huy Tuan, to shuffle five glasses behind his back. The glasses looked and smelled identical. Four contained water and one contained the acid solution.

Phat's daring trick was to drink the four glasses of water, leaving out the dangerous one.

After drinking the first glass of water, the young man picked up the wrong glass. He spat out the solution immediately and covered his mouth with his hand. There was a strange expression on his face, but he kept calm, only hurrying off the stage after finishing his act., a popular online news source, reported that Phat was taken to Cho Ray Hospital yesterday morning to treat the burn.

"It's a second-degree burn," said Doctor Tran Doan Dao, head of the hospital's burn department. "We'll have to do further screening to make sure his digestive system is intact."

After the incident, Phat declined to answer the press's questions. But he said earlier that the concoction he was trying to avoid during the show was mild sulfuric acid (H2SO4).

The doctor said it's too early to say anything right now, but Phat has been asked to stay in the hospital for 10 days.

Huyen Thuong, spokesperson for BHD Company, organiser of the programme, told Viet Nam News that Phat had received first aid immediately after the incident.

"Phat suffered mild burns to his lips and the tip of his tongue, because he had diluted the acid glass before performing," said Thuong, adding that he was being kept at the hospital for further monitoring.

The incident sent a chill through the panel of judges, members of the live audience as well as television viewers. Many newspapers and agencies contacted the organiser to ask about Phat's situation. Thuong said BHD will soon release an official announcement about the contestant's condition.

He said risky stunts are always inspected closely to ensure contestants' safety. A team of doctors is on hand during the shows, he added.

Phat had performed the trick well during rehearsals, Thuong said. The contestant has admitted that he had committed the dangerous blunder because he was nervous.

Musician Tuan wrote on his personal Facebook page that he'd called Phat and was told that the injuries were not serious. Tuan said he was in panic earlier, but feels secure about Phat's situation now.

"It's a regrettable accident, and the audience should sympathise with the performer," he said.

"Viet Nam's Got Talent is a contest with all kinds of performances, including singing, dancing and showing incredible abilities and performing dangerous actions like Phat's stunt."

Tuan said when the incident happened on the stage, he was not sure if Phat was really in trouble or putting on an act.

Viet Nam's Got Talent airs on VTV3 every Sunday. The contest's winner receives a cash prize of VND500 million (US$23,800). — VNS

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