Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Video footage shows lead-up to fiery blast at water park (update)

Video footage shows lead-up to fiery blast at water park (update)

Taipei, June 30 (CNA) Video images that surfaced Tuesday showed the moments before a fireball engulfed young revelers at a New Taipei City water park last Saturday, killing one person and injuring about 500. The footage, obtained from an onstage camera, is expected to help determine the circumstances that led to the ignition of colored cornstarch powder during a show at the water park. In the video, two workers are seen on the stage, using CO2 canisters to spray colored powder into the dancing crowd. At one point, a streak of flames flared above the stage, on the right side, then shrank somewhat after about 6 seconds. A stage worker then began to spray the flames with a CO2 canister, causing a second ignition as the blast of gas from the canister kicked up more colored powder. The stage worker, surnamed Shen (?), said that as he rushed to douse the flames that had engulfed a person who was running towards him from the dance floor, he had mistakenly used the CO2 canister as a fire distinguisher. Shen apologized for his regrettable error. Other eyewitness accounts indicated a similar mishap, where a secondary flare up had occurred as a man rushed to pull a woman from the flames, kicking up colored dust as he ran. Shen was questioned by the Shihlin Prosecutors Office, who cleared him of any charges relating to criminal negligence causing bodily harm. However, he has been placed under house arrest and is listed as a key witness. As of Tuesday, 434 of the approximately 500 people injured in the fire were still hospitalized, with 240 being treated in intensive care units, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Investigators also questioned a second stage worker surnamed Lu (?), who was identified from the video footage. Lu said he had arrived at the water park Saturday morning to cover for his friend who had been hired to work at the event. According to Lu, event organizers had only given him a 15-minute lesson on how to spray color powder with a CO2 canister. The recoil force expelled by the CO2 canister had sent him stumbling on his first few attempts, Lu said. Lu said that he was instructed to unload large volumes of color powder as the revelry peaked at the party. He noticed that bursts of flame had appeared near the nozzle of a CO2 jet machine that produced stage effects placed at the left side of the stage, which sparked a series of ignitions. Investigators said the disaster was likely to have been caused by a faulty stage effect machine, based on analysis of key footage submitted by eyewitnesses. By compiling and comparing the footage, investigators said they have established a rough timeline of events and that the flames appeared shortly after the stage machine had began operating. The flames first appeared in the midst of thick plumes of colored powder spewed out by the stage machine, and began burning in the air before spreading to the ground in a blaze that persisted for about 10 seconds, investigators said. Investigators said that other flame sources that may have led to the blasts included lit cigarettes, sparks from malfunctioning stage effects machines and the tremendous heat given off by high-powered stage lights. One of the burn victims died Monday. (By Sunrise Huang and Ted Chen)


Updated : 2021-09-23 04:31 GMT+08:00