A Hong Kong teenager was on Monday being treated for burns to more than half her body after new video emerged of a fireball engulfing revellers at a party in a Taiwan water park.
Five Hong Kong women were confirmed injured during the dust explosion in a New Taipei City water park on Saturday night, caused when coloured powder sprayed onto crowds ignited.
Among them was 19-year-old Mok Tse-ching, who is being treated for burns to 65 per cent of her body, according to local media.
Mok, who is receiving treatment at Taipei’s Taoyuan Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in New Taipei, is reported to have been studying Chinese at Taiwan’s Yuan Ze University. She is believed to be the most seriously injured of the Hong Kongers involved.
After visiting her in hospital, one of her professors told local media that her body was covered with a protective gauze and that she was in pain.
A Facebook page set up in support of Mok and another victim had attracted more than 8,100 likes as of noon on Monday. One of the Hong Kong victims will be flown home this afternoon, according to Hong Kong’s Immigration Department, while another will be taken to Shanghai for further treatment. The remaining three continue to receive treatment in Taiwan.
Videos and pictures posted on social media showed participants scattering as a number of explosions tore through the crowd, engulfing revellers in bursts of flame, after coloured powder blasted into the partygoers ignited.
Rescuers used inflatable toys to ferry the injured to safety in the aftermath of the blasts, while scattered shoes and bloody footprints were left behind.
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Taiwanese authorities said that corn starch had been used to produce the coloured powder sprayed on the crowds during the event. Corn starch is a combustible material that can explode upon contact with flames. Apple Daily reported on Monday that a number of eyewitnesses saw one of the event’s hosts smoking on stage before the explosion occurred.
Taiwan authorities said Monday that 498 people had suffered burns in the blast, down from an initial figure of 519. Five people have been arrested.
The incident has raised concerns over the safety of events that will include the use of coloured powder spray in Hong Kong, including Life in Colour and The Colour Run. Organisers of Life in Colour told Commercial Radio on Monday that July’s event would go ahead, adding that the powder used during the event would not catch fire.
A number of netizens commented on the official Facebook page of The Colour Run, demanding the event be cancelled out of safety reasons. The event is set to return to Hong Kong for a second time on December 6 at the Asia-World Expo near the Airport.
An internet user said on the official Facebook page of The Colour Run Hong Kong that “events like these should be banned permanently to avoid accidents.”
The Immigration Department said it had sent four officers to Taiwan to assist victims and their families.
In a press statement, the Immigration Department said it had contacted the families of the injured and will offer assistance.