Taiwan water park investigations reveal 2 explosions

Taiwan water park investigations reveal 2 explosions
PHOTO: Reuters

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Chen Hui-ying, general manager of Formosa Water Park, and the Color Play Asia event host who goes by the stage name Tong Tong, were questioned by police yesterday during an investigation surrounding the water park explosions that left almost 500 party-goers injured, with 240 still in intensive care, and one dead.

Related event workers were called to police departments for further questioning after the death of a party-goer the day before. Chen was questioned by the Shihlin District Prosecutors Office and Luzhou Precinct Police Department regarding the Color Play Asia event details.

Tong Tong, who had escaped the dust explosion unscathed while taking a sip of water offstage, remained silent and refused media interviews.

In other news, strict safety investigations will be conducted on the 24 amusement parks nationwide, beginning July 6, as announced by the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

Investigations Cause of Explosion in Progress

The timeline of events of a tragic incident at a local park, in which around 500 people were injured last Saturday, is steadily being pieced together, as fire department officials reported yesterday that in fact two explosions had ripped through the crowd of party-goers, as opposed to the one explosion that was initially reported.

In a video released by the UDN, which was recorded from the stage of the water park event, investigators found that the two explosions took place within minutes of each other.

By the time the first explosion's flames had died down to a few small fiery sparks, a special effects employee on the stage took CO2 cylinder and sprayed it into the already-singed scene in an attempt to extinguish the remaining cinders. The attempt had inadvertently fanned the flames by kicking up the approximately five centimeter thick dust on the ground, leading to the second explosion.

According to Cheng Chang-hsing, captain of the New Taipei City Fire Department First Rescue Team, people should never use fire extinguishers to combat dust explosions, but rather should put out the fire with water or damp cloth or clothing. Other methods could accidentally add fuel to the fire.

Fire department officials also revealed that the electricity cables around the stage were intact, and have ruled out the possibility of a cable fire igniting the dust explosion. Officials are currently determined to investigate further into two possibilities: a cigarette-caused fire and over-heated lighting equipment.

Investigators have also revealed that abundant cigarette butts and lighters were scattered on the ground at the scene, and have admitted to the possibility that the initial explosion may have been caused by the lighting of a cigarette when the corn starch powder was first sprayed into the crowd.

On the other hand, as the lamps had been in use for almost over two hours, fire department officials estimated the temperature of the lighting equipment in the event area could have been well over a hundred degrees Celsius.

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