Sat, Oct 17, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Water Park Disaster: Organizer indicted over Bali inferno

PENALTIES:The Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office said that it was seeking severe punishment because of negligence leading to significant fatalities and injuries

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office spokesman Chen Shi-chu speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Public prosecutors in Taipei yesterday indicted Lu Chung-chi (呂忠吉) over the inferno at the Formosa Fun Coast (八仙海岸) water park on June 27, which resulted in 12 deaths and nearly 500 suffering burns.

The Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office charged Lu with professional negligence resulting in death and professional negligence causing bodily harm.

The office did not indict Formosa Fun Coast water park chairman Chen Po-ting (陳柏廷), general manager Chen Hui-ying (陳慧潁) or administrative director Lin Yu-fen (林玉芬).

Prosecutors also did not indict five other individuals who were summoned for questioning during the investigation, all of whom are employees of event promoter Juipo International Marketing Co (瑞博國際整合行銷): manager Chou Hung-wei (周宏瑋); hardware technician Chiu Po-ming (邱柏銘); special effects technician Liao Chun-ming (廖俊明); and Shen Hao-jan (沈浩然) and Lu Chien-yu (廬建佑), who were responsible for operating equipment at the event.

An explosion of powder and the resulting inferno were caused by dense concentrations of sprayed cornstarch that came into contact with the incandescent bulbs used for stage lighting, which had a surface temperature of more than 400oC, the indictment cited fire department investigators as saying.

The three water park executives were not indicted because the cause of the explosion had nothing to do with the park’s firefighting and safety equipment, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Chen Hsi-chu (陳錫柱) said, adding that the park had passed a facility safety and emergency service inspection by New Taipei City Government agencies.

Furthermore, Lu had a rental agreement with the water park’s proprietors, in which he rented the swimming pool and surrounding areas for the Color Play Asia party, which took place after the park’s standard business hours.

“As it was a rental agreement to use parts of the premises, there was no splitting of the event’s profit and no business relationship exists between Lu’s company and the park’s proprietors,” Chen said.

According to the terms of the rental agreement, Lu was responsible for maintaining public safety, and onsite firefighting and safety equipment, which absolved Formosa Fun Coast’s proprietors of blame, the prosecutors said.

Eighty-six people sustained serious burns and 383 received less-serious injuries, prosecutors said, adding that 16 of them were foreign nationals from the US, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, China, Macau or Hong Kong.

“Due to the defendant’s actions and negligence, the event ended with a significant number of fatalities and injuries. Therefore, we are requesting severe punishment in this case,” the prosecutors said.

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