According to a reliable source, the fire erupted at 9:52 p.m. on the stage at the water park, where the flammable powder appeared to detonate towards the end of the “Color Play Asia” festival being attended by about 4,500 people.
At midnight, they were still removing the injured from the park. The city government said 13 of the injured were foreign nationals. The figure released late Sunday by local authorities was lower than an earlier estimate of 519 injured due to patients being transferred between hospitals and being double-counted, a government official said.
A video showed how a massive fireball suddenly engulfed the stage, while people were screaming and running through the flames.
One male witness told local news channel CTI: “It started on the left side of the stage”.
His visibly shaken girlfriend added: “I saw lots of people whose skin was gone”. The injured included four mainland Chinese and two foreigners.
President Ma Ying-jeou visited burns victims at a hospital in Taipei on Sunday afternoon and said authorities would do their best to ensure victims receive “the best medical care” and find out who was responsible for the “tragic incident”.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported on Sunday that the organizers of the color party where the explosion occurred have apologized to the public.
No death has yet been reported, but victims of the incident suffered burns to the limbs, with some passing out from the pain while others had burned clothes stuck to their skin, media reports and pictures showed. They are being questioned by prosecutors on charges of offences against public safety and negligence of duties that caused severe injuries, a police spokesman said.
In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, rescuers treated hundreds of people, majority aged between 20 and 30. One young man who had been at the party described the moment the fire broke out.
The water park has been closed, and the fire is under investigation.