Taiwan investigates blaze; injuries revised down to 498
Updated: 2015-06-29 07:05
A person helps an injured victim from an accidental explosion during a music concert at a water park in New Taipei City, Taiwan, June 27, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
Fire broke out at the main stage after the explosion of a large amount of flammable powder in a recreational park in Taiwan's New Taipei city Saturday evening. The park was having a Color Play Asia party attended by a total of 4,500 people, when powder ejected from a performance stage ignited, flying off in all directions and engulfing the audience.
It is the worst incidence of mass injury in the history of New Taipei city.
Among the injured are Chen Lingdan and Zhuang Chujun, both students from the Chinese mainland who are studying in Taiwan's Chiao Tung University.
With all her arms and legs bandaged up, Chen, 24, looked pale Sunday afternoon as she received treatment in MacKay Memorial Hospital. "She suffered burns to 53 percent of her body and was in great pain when she woke up," said her tutor Wendy Lai.
"We have just finished this term's courses, Chen and Zhuang went to party to relax. They forwarded us photos taken at the park at about six o'clock yesterday," said their classmate Wang Yiyi.
Chen was close to the water and managed to put out the fire on her body quickly, but Zhuang was closer to the stage and suffered much worse injuries, Wang said. Zhuang is still in the intensive care unit of another hospital in Taipei.
Both Chen and Zhuang's parents have been notified and are expected to arrive in the island in about two days, according to Wendy Lai.
At an emergency meeting Sunday, Eric Chu, mayor of New Taipei, ordered a complete moratorium on the use of carbon powder in his jurisdiction.
Authorities in other parts of the island also quickly controlled use of powders and other flammable materials in public places to prevent more accidents.
Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, expressed sympathy for the victims Sunday, and hoped they all received timely and appropriate treatment.
The mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) has contacted Taiwan's Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF) to provide all possible assistance, said the spokesman.
ARATS has been actively helping the relatives of injured mainland visitors to go to Taiwan.