Taiwanese who survived water park blaze shows off scars

Jiang Xinyu suffered serious burns on 91 per cent of her body in the fire at the Colour Play Asia festival in June 2015.
Jiang Xinyu suffered serious burns on 91 per cent of her body in the fire at the Colour Play Asia festival in June 2015.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/DEVIN TAI

A Taiwanese woman who has undergone 21 operations in the past three years after she survived the 2015 blaze that ripped through Taipei's Formosa Fun Coast water park has earned the admiration of social media users for her courage.

Many were touched by 31-year-old Jiang Xinyu's story about her recovery after she suffered serious burns on 91 per cent of her body from the fire at the Colour Play Asia festival in June 2015.

Her remarkable journey was reported by Apple Daily in Taiwan on Friday.

The story followed a photo of Ms Jiang wearing nothing but a rainbow-coloured, feathered pair of wings, which was shared on a Facebook group for beauty enthusiasts in December last year.

The image, in which Ms Jiang poses with quiet confidence despite the visible scars covering most of her arms and legs, soon gained the attention of social media users.

Speaking to Apple Daily on Friday, Ms Jiang compared herself to a "mermaid in a sea of fire" and said that what she went through, in fact, made her more beautiful.

She was among the 500 people who were injured when the coloured corn starch powder sprayed on partygoers at the water park ignited under the heat of stage lights. Fifteen people were killed.

 
 

She told Apple Daily she struggled with how her burnt skin looked. However, her perspective changed after she met a photographer who asked if she would like to have her photos taken. She said of the photo shoot in November last year: "I felt brave, like I was being reborn." After the photo was shared online, netizens also cheered her on.

Ms Jiang is now training to become an eyebrow embroidery artist after seeing how the procedure helped other survivors who lost some of their facial features because of the burns.

"With the operation I had on my hands after the fire, it is impossible for me to use my hands fully like before," she said.

"But to be able to enter the beauty industry, which I am passionate about, is enough for me."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 10, 2019, with the headline 'Taiwanese who survived water park blaze shows off scars'. Print Edition | Subscribe