Incident claims first fatality: woman aged 20
A 20-YEAR-OLD woman died yesterday, the first fatality among more than 500 casualties from a weekend party blaze in Taiwan suspected to have been sparked by a coloured powder.
This comes amid an islandwide ban announced by the Taiwanese government on flammable coloured powder events.
Lee Pei-yun, 20, was pronounced dead at a hospital in Taichung yesterday afternoon, local media reported.
She was standing near the stage with her 12-year-old brother when the powder exploded into a fireball, reported Taiwan's Central News Agency.
She suffered burns on 90 per cent of her body, just a little worse than her brother, whose life is still in danger.
Three suspects connected to the incident, who were released on bail late on Sunday, might now face five years in prison as a victim has died, reported Agence France-Presse.
The suspects include Lu Chung-chi, 41, owner of Color Play Asia, which organised the party at Formosa Fun Coast water park in New Taipei City on Saturday.
Officials said more than 200 of those being treated for burns remain in serious condition, reported Reuters.
Investigators were seeking a reason why the corn flour mix of coloured powder combusted after being sprayed over the partygoers from a machine mounted on stage.
Investigators are looking at three main possibilities: cigarette embers, a lighter or electrical sparks, Kevin Lo, an official with the fire department of New Taipei City, told Reuters.