Visitors to Taoyuan County’s Sinwu Township (新屋) were left astonished yesterday morning after a replica of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s Yellow Rubber Duck on display in a pond in the township burst during inflation.
The explosion occurred at about 9am when maintenance staff members, amid strong winds, were pumping air into the inflatable duck after it deflated on Thursday evening, allegedly due to temporary power outages caused by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck the nation that night.
The 18m bathtub toy, which was put on display a week ago for a 16-day exhibition, quickly deflated after powerful winds and over-inflation caused it to burst, county officials said.
The Greater Kaohsiung Government, which was the first local government to host the giant duck, came to the rescue of its Taoyuan counterpart by agreeing to lend its own Rubber Duck to the county without charge.
Greater Kaohsiung’s duck is expected to be on display in Sinwu today at the earliest.
Taoyuan County Commissioner Wu Chih-yang (吳志揚) apologized to the public and Hofman over the incident and thanked Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) for lending a helping hand to the county.
Hofman expressed regret over the incident, but said: “It is okay,” as similar accidents had happened to the giant ducks in Hong Kong, Beijing and Osaka.
News of the deflated duck prompted a fervent response among the nation’s netizens, with Taoyuan County Councilor Chan Chiang-tsun (詹江村) even suggesting that Wu lead county government officials in observing a 10-second silence in tribute to the deflated duck, a request declined by the commissioner.