March 10 (UPI) -- Onlookers at the Vietnamese premier of Kong: Skull Island were sent running in a panic when a 16-foot statue of King Kong burst into flames.
Witnesses said the flames from a simulated volcano on a stage during a dance performance ignited the 16-foot-tall gorilla statue at a Ho Chi Minh City shopping center about 7:05 p.m. Thursday.
The spectators said they initially thought the flaming gorilla was part of the performance, but the crowd began to flee when it became clear that the fire was unintentional.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames in about 15 minutes. There were no reports of injuries.
The flames destroyed the statue and the $43,500 stage set up for the event.
The 7:30 p.m. premiere of Kong: Skull Island went ahead as scheduled.