Scarf may have saved teen's life

Singaporean Megan Loy doing volunteer work in Tanzania, Africa in 2014.
Singaporean Megan Loy doing volunteer work in Tanzania, Africa in 2014.PHOTO: JOSEPH LOY

A ball of fire had ripped through the crowd, and 18-year-old Megan Loy and her five friends found themselves engulfed in an inferno.

A fellow partygoer later helped carry Miss Loy, who sustained serious burns, on a makeshift table to an ambulance. Along the way, Miss Loy saw revellers dousing each other with beer to soothe their burns.

"Don't do that," she shouted at them, worried that the alcohol content in the beer would ignite and further aggravate their injuries.

"Even in the midst of her own pain and the chaos around her, she was concerned about others," said her father, Mr Joseph Loy.

He and his wife had not probed her for details earlier, as they were worried about causing further distress.

But two weeks ago, Miss Loy felt ready to open up to them.

She had volunteered to tell her mother about the fateful night of June 27, when an explosion took place at Formosa Fun Coast water park during the Colour Play Asia festival .

The Taiwanese authorities suspect the explosion of coloured powder thrown on the partygoers - a hallmark of the event - is to blame for the fire.

Miss Loy had been accompanied by her good friends from Dulwich College Shanghai, on a trip to celebrate their graduation. That night, they were in front of the stage, dancing to the music.

It was getting late and they had decided to leave after one last song.

But it was a decision that almost cost them their lives.

Minutes later, flashes of light appeared and a heatwave overtook the girls.

As they tried to escape, Miss Loy tripped over a man whose skin was ablaze.

Spotting a banner nearby, she tried to extinguish the flames on her body by rolling on it. The T-shirt that she had worn over her bikini had already been scorched.

Mr Loy said: "Thankfully, she had a scarf with her to cover her face and neck. That might have saved her life, because some people had their respiratory tracts and internal organs damaged from inhaling the flammable powder."

Nearby, the park's waterway that was used for inflatable boat rides had turned blood red. People were dipping themselves in the water for some relief from the pain.

In the ambulance, Miss Loy was repeatedly told to stay awake.

The first hospital turned her away as her injuries were too serious, but she was later admitted to Taipei Medical University Shuang-Ho Hospital.

When Miss Loy's parents saw her the next morning, she was bandaged from head to toe. Although her face was so puffy that her eyes appeared as mere slits, her parents saw relief in them.

Recalled Mr Loy: "I told her to stay strong and papa and mama would make sure she gets the best medical treatment.

"Sending her back to Singapore was the best decision I've made in my life because of the dedication of the doctors and nurses from Ward 43."

Janice Tai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 02, 2015, with the headline 'Scarf may have saved teen's life'. Print Edition | Subscribe