At least 516 people were injured during an event at a water park in Taiwan on Saturday night after some colored powder sprayed onto the crowd caught fire, igniting a conflagration that caused severe burns to the partygoers. Some of the victims, mostly young people in their 20s, suffered burns over large areas of their bodies (in one woman’s case, 90 percent) and will require skin grafts.
Amateur video shot at the Formosa Water Park indicates the fire erupted as organizers of the “Color Play Asia” event sprayed a colored powder on the crowd of about 1,000 dancers.
“It started on the left side of the stage,” one witness told a Taiwanese television station. “At the beginning I thought it was part of the special effects of the party.
The red, green and purple powder seemed to combust in midair, creating what some reports described as a cloud of fire descending on the crowded dance floor.
Investigators quickly focused on five suspects: The “Color Play” organizer and four technicians working the event, according to the official Central News agency.
Event officials issued a quick apology and promised their cooperation with fire officials.
Rescuers used inflatable rafts from the water park to lug the burn victims away from the raging blaze. And many of the victims were clad only in bathing suits, making them more vulnerable to the flames.