HONG KONG — Hundreds of people were injured at a water park in Taiwan on Saturday when a cloud of colored powder exploded in the air over a crowd during a live event, erupting into a huge fireball, the island’s official Central News Agency reported.
No deaths were reported, but at least 516 people were injured, 194 seriously, including eight with life-threatening injuries, the agency reported. The injured, many suffering burns, were overwhelmingly young, in their 20s or younger, according to a roster posted on the news agency’s website.
Video taken at the scene showed the flames erupting among the crowd at the event, called Color Play Asia, about 8:30 p.m., after nightfall. People were shown carrying the injured from the scene in inflatable rafts, and others were shown running away, silhouetted by flames. The fire was quickly put under control, but not before hundreds were hurt, the agency said.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare said on its website that Taipei-area hospitals had many victims requiring skin grafts. The ministry said hospitals also put out urgent requests for other medical supplies needed to treat burns.
Color Play Asia bills itself as Asia’s biggest color party, an event where people dance to music while spraying each other with colored powder. A promotional video for the event on its Facebook page shows employees on a stage blasting colored powder onto the crowd.
The victims were mostly Taiwanese, with only three people from mainland China and three citizens of other countries, the news agency reported. They were being treated at 21 hospitals in the Taipei area, the agency said.
The news agency reported that the person at the park responsible for live events, Lu Zhongji, 41, as well as two other employees, had been taken to a nearby police station for questioning. The police may charge several employees with negligence and public endangerment, the agency said. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.
The water park, Formosa Fun Coast, is north of Taipei, the island’s capital city.