Taiwanese event organizer gets jail time in deadly fire at water park party

Rescue workers tend to injured people following explosions at the water park last year.

Story highlights

  • Fifteen people were killed and more than 300 injured in explosions at the party last year
  • Colored powder sprayed on revelers ignited under a spotlight, a court says
  • Event organizer Lu Chung-chi knew of the risk of explosion, Shilin District Court says

(CNN)A Taiwanese event organizer has been sentenced to four years and 10 months in prison for his role in throwing a party at a water park where a fireball killed 15 people last year, a court said Tuesday.

The party, organized by Lu Chung-chi's company, Color Play Asia, at the Formosa Fun Coast water park outside Taipei on June 27, ended in tragedy when colored powder sprayed over revelers ignited under the heat of a spotlight, causing a series of deadly blasts.
    Fifteen people died, 331 were seriously injured and 135 suffered less severe injuries, according to a statement from the Shilin District Court. Most of the victims were in their teens and early 20s.
    The court said that Lu had failed to prevent the explosions, saying that as the event organizer, he "knew there were potential risks of explosion with the colored powder and that it may cause harm to participants at the party."
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    "According to the law, he had the responsibility to stop using the powder and to ensure safety when providing his services, and he failed to carry out that responsibility," the court statement said.
    The court said that Lu left the stage at 7 on the night of the explosions but did not tell a friend to stop spraying the colored powder onto the crowd. Packets of the powder were also handed out to partygoers.
    In the aftermath of the disaster, Lu apologized publicly, getting down onto his knees in front of reporters.
    "We shoulder ultimate responsibility," he said, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency.
    The explosions left plastic surgeons working around the clock to treat the injured, many of whom had also inhaled the flammable powder, leaving them with internal damage.