Taiwan Water Park Explosion Leaves 10 Dead, 500 Injured

A massive explosion during a music and dance event at the Formosa Fun Water Park on June 27 has so far killed 10 and left some 500 injured, nearly 200 of them severely burned.

Dubbed the “Color Play Asia Party,” the event featured colored powder blown onto participants dancing in an empty swimming pool. The powder exploded for unknown reasons, sending waves of flames across the dancers, burning many of them severely, with some suffering burns covering more than 90% of their bodies. The massive numbers of casualties overwhelmed area burn units and trauma centers, and many victims remain in critical condition. A dedicated burn center to handle the long-term treatment of the victims has been established at the Banqiao District branch of the New Taipei City Hospital. A number of executives and workers at the Formosa Fun Coast water park have been detained awaiting possible legal charges amid accusations that the event used cheaper but more volatile cornstarch as the base for its colored powder over safer alternatives. The disaster also resulted in at least two suicides – one the father of a burn victim, the other a mentally distressed individual who wanted to donate his skin to the victims.

The event was organized by Rui Bo International Marketing, a local events firm established on April 28 this year. Its head, Lu Chung-chi, a prominent gay rights activist in Taipei, was reportedly also taken into custody and released on NT$1 million bail. The disaster has been met with an outpouring of support for the victims, with teams of burn and emergency-care specialist physicians arriving from abroad for consultations, including one from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Local organ donations have likewise risen, and skin donations have been received from the United States and other foreign nations.