LONDON: The Olympic flame went out on Monday for the first time since the torch relay for the 2012 London Games began before being relit from a “mother flame” kept on standby for mishaps, organisers said.
The flame vanished while it was attached to the side of Paralympics badminton star David Follett’s wheelchair in blustery weather as he travelled through Devon in southwest England on the third day of the 8,000 miles (12,875 km) relay.
“The flame went out due to a malfunctioning burner,” a spokeswoman for London 2012 said.“It is not uncommon for a flame to go out and this can happen for a number of reasons — for example, in extreme winds.”
A replacement torch was brought out from the accompanying convoy of vehicles, and was lit from the backup flame.“We keep the mother flame in specially designed miners’ lanterns so if the flame does go out for some reason on the relay we relight it from the source of the flame,” the spokeswoman added.
The flame was flown from Greece, where it also went out during the lighting ceremony, and began its journey around Britain on Saturday.It is passed from torch to torch and will be carried by some 8,000 torchbearers over 10 weeks ahead of the Games, which start on July 27.