Five people have been arrested in the wake of an explosion at a water park Taiwan on Saturday night that left nearly 200 people in critical condition.
At least 519 people, including six foreigners and seven tourists from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, were among those injured when a blast was triggered by colored powder thrown at party-goers attending an event at the Formosa Fun Coast Water Park in New Taipei City.
Around 1,000 visitors were dancing on and around a stage at the “Color Play Asia Party” when they were sprayed with the powder, which, according to The Daily Star, was a special feature of the festival held in previous years.
Video clips posted online showed as swimsuit-clad visitors ran screaming from the stage, which had been engulfed in clouds of powder before it suddenly erupted in flames. Visitors described the scene as “hell”.
“Many were on fire, shouting and bleeding. The pool was filled with blood, and people were just drifting,” a male witness told local media at the scene. “Many were skinless.”
“The explosion occurred when a large volume of unknown coloured powder spewed out into the air at an open stage in the Formosa water park, [which] caught on fire at around 8.30 pm,” a police officer was quoted as saying in an SCMP report.
It’s believed that the mid-air explosion may have been triggered by “sparks from the machinery or lighting equipment”.
A total of 194 critically injured festival-goers are now receiving emergency treatment at intensive care units at 37 different hospitals.
Taiwan Premier Mao Chi-kuo told reporters that “The next few days will be a critical time for the injured”.
Meanwhile, five people, including event manager Lu Chung-chi, were detained by police and are being questioned on charges of offenses against public safety and negligence of duties that caused severe injuries.
“We need to apologize to the families. I am very sorry that something like this happened,” Lu said in a statement before going in for police questioning. “We shoulder ultimate responsibility”.