Water park survivors slam prosecutors

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Survivors and victims of the deadly water park explosion slammed prosecutors Friday after they indicted only one organizer of the color dust event, leaving the owners of the park to go free.
The Shihlin District Prosecutors Office announced Friday it would only charge organizer Lu Chung-chi with causing death and injury through negligence in the performance of his job for the June 27 blast at the Formosa Fun Coast Park in Bali, New Taipei City, which eventually led to 12 deaths and sent about 500 people to hospital, many of them with severe burns.
Survivors and their relatives expressed outrage at the prosecutors’ decision, saying Lu had been singled out while eight other suspects including the park owners, the family behind shipping company Wan Hai Lines Ltd., were left off the hook.
The organizer himself complained about rich people being able to escape justice, while he also doubted the official theory that an overheated stage light was responsible for the explosion. Lu claimed that the source of the fire was to be found among the public.
One of the victims’ parents said it was impossible for the park management not to bear any responsibility for the disaster, so he would ask for a new investigation. Shihlin Prosecutors said that was a right the families had. New Taipei City said it was willing to help the families request a review of the case by the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office.
The chairman and CEO of Formosa Fun Coast both said they were not really involved in the day-to-day management of the water park and would only sign important documents. The CEO said she had been absent during negotiations with Lu over the color powder event, which was handled by department staff.
According to prosecutors, fire safety at the park had been approved by the New Taipei City authorities, while the event took place after regular opening hours, leaving Lu in charge of safety matters.
While 12 mostly young people died in the months following the disaster, 71 were still staying in hospital almost four months later, with ten still listed in critical condition, reports said.