Freak Accident: Powder Sprayed on Crowd Ignites

500 injured when fire engulfs revelers at water park in Taiwan
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2015 6:01 AM CDT
Freak Accident: Powder Sprayed on Crowd Ignites
In this screen grab taken from ETTV, an injured concert spectator is treated after the explosion.   (ETTV via AP)

A freak accident at a Taiwan water park injured more than 500 people yesterday, but it had nothing to do with a ride: Throngs of people dancing at the Formosa Fun Coast park were sprayed with a colored powder from a stage as part of the festivities, but the powder quickly ignited for reasons that remain unclear, reports Reuters. People were burned by the powder on their skin or by the huge fireball that erupted. A total of 519 people were hurt, with nearly 200 of them ending up in intensive care. CNN reports that eight people were still in critical condition today.

It was "hell," one witness tells the BBC. "There was blood everywhere, including in the pool where lots of the injured were soaking themselves for relief from the pain." Those tending to the injured used inflatable water toys as stretchers. Investigators are interviewing workers at the Color Play Asia event to figure out what happened, with one theory being that the heat from stage lights somehow ignited the powder. Those involved may face charges of professional negligence, reports AP. (Read more Taiwan stories.)

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