Second death after Taiwan water park disaster

Second death after Taiwan water park disaster
PHOTO: Reuters

TAIPEI - A second young victim died Thursday after being engulfed by a fireball that injured nearly 500 people at a Taiwan "colour party", as organisers face charges after plumes of decorative powder ignited.

Student Liu Chih-wei, 19, suffered burns to almost his entire body in the disaster, which saw crowds of young revellers overtaken by flames after being sprayed with clouds of multi-coloured corn starch at Saturday's event.

Liu died in the early hours of Thursday, doctors said.

"Liu died this morning. More than 95 per cent of his skin was burnt and his respiratory system damaged when he was admitted to hospital," a doctor outside the hospital in the central city of Taichung told reporters.

"After emergency treatment his family did not want to see him suffering any more and decided to let him go", the doctor said.

Another victim, 20-year-old Lee Pei-yun, who had suffered 90 per cent burns, died Monday - the first fatality.

Media reported that Lee's 12-year-old brother was also hospitalised with 80 per cent burns. Both were standing close to the stage when the fireball erupted, reports said.

Around 1,000 spectators had attended the Color Play Asia event at the Formosa Fun Coast water park, just outside the capital Taipei, on Saturday evening.

More than 200 suffered serious injuries and are being treated across 43 hospitals.

Three suspects were released on bail late Sunday as prosecutors investigate them on charges of offences against public safety and negligence causing severe injuries.

While it has yet to emerge exactly how the blast was triggered, authorities have speculated that heat from the stage lighting or cigarettes could have ignited the corn starch.

The company that supplied the corn starch to event organisers Color Play Asia said it had warned of its flammability.

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