Explosion at Water Park Kills 15 People!

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A Brief History

On June 27, 2015, the Formosa Fun Coast waterpark in Bali, New Taipei, Taiwan, experienced a massive explosion that killed 15 people and injured an additional 497.   Among the injured, 199 were in critical condition. The cause of the explosion was colored corn starch powder used in a “Color Play Asia” party, a ritual of the Hindu religious festival “Holi” (“Festival of Colors.”)  A performance on a music stage observed by hundreds of park goers was the setting for the disaster.

Digging Deeper

The recreational waterpark had been open since 1989, and was closed after the explosion.  In 2017, the government allowed the park to reopen.  The 30 acre park is also known as ‘Eight Immortals Paradise.”

Formosa Fun Coast in August 2009.  Photograph by ECTaiwan2010.

Powders such as cornstarch, sawdust, sugar and the like (even some metals!) can become highly explosive when distributed throughout the air at a certain density.  A spark or open flame can ignite the powder, resulting in an explosion.  Such incidents have happened many times before, usually in an industrial setting.  In fact, an expert from the National Tsing Hua University had warned the park of such danger that very same year!  Apparently, the warning about the colored powders went unheeded.  The basic preventative measures to eliminate the risk of dust explosions are well understood and readily available on line or in libraries.  Any person or persons conducting a display using airborne powders or dust are well advised to study the safety recommendations prior to conducting the display.

People go to water parks to swim, bask in the sun, and enjoy the various other recreational activities at the parks.  Explosions are probably among the least of the concerns of the patrons, though in the case of the New Taipei Waterpark Explosion of 2015 the danger became quite real and deadly.  Waterparks are dangerous enough places without having to worry about being blown up!  In fact, amusement parks of all types can be deadly.  We strongly urge any of our readers that attend amusement parks or waterparks to rigorously adhere to the safety rules posted at the parks and to immediately report anything they see that may seem “wrong” or out of place.  Oh, and practice hygiene to protect yourself and your family against possible microbial infection while you are at it.  (Just saying…)

A video screenshot of the incident at the Formosa Fun Coast, viewed from onstage

The good news is, your chance of being injured or killed at a waterpark or amusement park are pretty slim, so please go and enjoy yourself and have a great summer!

Questions for Students (and others):  Have you gone to a waterpark?  What is your favorite waterpark?  What is your favorite amusement park of any type?  Please let us known in the comments section below this article.

Typhoon Lagoon at Walt Disney World is the most visited water park in North America, and the second most visited in the world.  Photograph by JZ85.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Hamilton, SL. Water Parks (Wild Water). A & D Xtreme, 2015.

Ruane, Jay, Seth Price, and Jill Ruane. The Amusement Park and Waterpark Injury Guide: National Edition.  Different Middle Initial, 2018.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Jrs1203 of the 2015 Baxian Paradise Color Party before the explosion, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.