A Taiwan water park explosion has left 497 injured and one dead after colored powder burst into flame during a “Color Play Asia” party.

Taiwan Water Park Explosion Leaves 497 Injured, 1 Dead

On Saturday, tragedy struck at Formosa Fun Coast, a Taiwanese water park, during a “Color Play Asia” event party. “Color Play Asia” parties are organized across the continent and attract young audiences with music and colored powder – not unlike a music festival. The colored powder was being sprayed onto the crowd from the stage and suddenly caught fire, creating a huge fireball that quickly consumed the event.

Video footage of the incident shows the fire erupt out of nowhere, sending attendees screaming and running for an exit. The almost 500 injured were rushed to hospitals in a panic, some of the badly injured carried out of the water park on inflatable inner tubes. Hospitals were quickly overcrowded with patients and Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare issued a plea for medical supplies and skin grafts from hospitals around the country following the event. There are currently 43 separate hospitals treating victims – 202 are listed as in critical condition and 182 are in intensive care.

It was reported on Monday that Lee Pei-yun, a 20-year-old woman who was in attendance at the event, died after suffering second-degree burns on 90% of her body, marking the explosion’s first casualty. Her 12-year-old brother also suffered burns to 90% of his body. He is currently being treated.

Taiwan Investigation: Colored Powder Caught Fire

An investigation was opened immediately after the fire, and Taiwan’s Premiere Mao Chi-Kuo banned all color powder events as a preemptive measure. According to the company that supplied “Color Play Asia” with the colored powder, Tai Won Food Industrial Co., they gave “Color Play Asia” three tons of colored powder – which is a flammable material.

Tai Won Food Industrial Co. vice president Chou Hui-fang insisted that the packaging on the colored power clearly warns users of possible dangers when exposed to excessive heat or open flame. It is still unclear exactly what prompted the explosion – whether it was the large quantities of powder compounded by heat or a stray cigarette butt that ignited the powder.

“Whether it’s corn starch or flour starch, this kind of stuff, no matter how long it’s been around, if it’s in dense qualities and if it’s hot, it can catch fire,” Chou Hui-fang told reporters.

The color powder suppliers are not under investigation, but five people with connections to the event were brought in for questioning, and two have been released on bail – party organizer Lu Chung-chi and an engineer. No charges have been filed.

“We need to apologize to the families. I am very sorry that something like this happened. We shoulder ultimate responsibility,” Lu said in a public apology.

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