Taipei: More than 520 people have been injured in an explosion and fire on a music stage that spread into a crowd of spectators at a water park in Taiwan during a festival on Saturday, 194 of them are said to be in serious condition, however, no loss of lives reported, authorities said.
According to the reports of Taiwan’s CNA news agency, majority of the victims suffered serious burns including the two 20-year-old women who were burned over 80 percent of their bodies; others inhaled large quantities of toxic smoke or powder.
The explosion took place due to a large quantity of flammable powder near the stage in front of about 1000 people, said a spokesman for the New Taipei city fire department.
“Our initial investigation shows that this explosion and fire … was caused by a large quantity of powder spray, which may have turned into explosion due to the heat of the lights on the stage.” Said the spokesman.
The spokesman said that the fire erupted at the Formosa water park near the capital city and was brought under control quickly by his department.
Some of the injured were taken to a total of 43 hospitals in New Taipei while others were shifted to hospitals in the Island’s capital itself, while authorities of hospitals in other cities such as Keelung have been informed to be alert to receive and treat the victims.
All the 524 injured are under treatment in different hospitals of the two cities; however, the other 192 serious patients are in intensive care and urgently need skin grafts, said officials of Taiwan’s health bureau.
The officials said they have issued urgent call for help to different plastic surgery association for skin donations, assorted organizations and other surgical needs.
The festival, Color Play Asia, was being attended by more than 4,500 people, when the fire erupted at 9:52 p.m. on the stage due to spray of a flammable powder, the video of which has been posted on the Internet showing people calling for help as a wave of smoke envelops the stage and suddenly bursts into flame.
“The fire erupted on the left side of the stage. First, I thought it was part of the special effects of the party but soon I realised there was something wrong as the people started screaming, running and crying for help.” a witness said to a local news channel CTI.
“We feel sad and regretful about the accident,” New Taipei’s mayor, Eric Chu, said, who also called for an emergency meeting on Sunday to order a moratorium on the use of flammable powder in any kind of festivals.
“I’ve ordered to shut down the park immediately and be placed under a rigorous investigation,” he said.
The injured people include three citizens of China and as-yet-undetermined number of other foreigners.