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One killed, hundreds injured in powder explosion at Taiwan water park

29 June 2015

Hundreds were injured when fire ripped through crowds at a party at an amusement park outside Taiwan's capital, Taipei. The June 27 incident at the Formosa Water Park is believed to have happened when a coloured powder ignited after being discharged onto the crowd during a concert.

Stock image
Stock image

Video showed a massive fireball engulfing the stage, followed by screaming people running through the flames.

The following day local news sources were putting the total casualty figure at 485, with 182 in intensive care and eight reported to have life-threatening injuries. One 20-year old succumbed to her injuries on June 29.

Other than exterior burn injuries, some of the victims breathed in the powder, causing respiratory problems. Forty-three hospitals are treating casualties, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.

Organisers of the Color Play Asia event were taken in for questioning by prosecutors, and released on bail.

The fire was quickly brought under control, but the cause of the incident is still under investigation.

The authorities believe the coloured powder exploded after contact with an ignition source. The powder was said to be made of highly flammable dried corn.

The fire department said: "Our initial understanding is this explosion and fire... was caused by the powder spray. It could have been due to the heat of the lights on the stage".

Taiwan's Ministry of Health and Welfare put out a call for medical supplies and skin grafts for the hundreds injured, local media reported.

Mayor Eric Chu called it the "worst incident of mass injury (ever) in New Taipei," Taiwan's most populous city.

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