A man who was severely burned in an explosion at a water park in Taiwan has returned home to New Hampshire, where his recovery so far has surprised doctors and family alike.
Alex Haas, 27, who had been teaching in Taipei, suffered burns on about 90 percent of his body when a flammable powder blew up over a stage at the water park on June 27. Media in Taiwan have reported that 11 people died and more than 500 were injured.
Haas' cousin, Melanie Tamposi, said he returned to his parents' home in Mont Vernon last weekend after a brief stay at Massachusetts General Hospital. The next step will be lots of physical therapy, but doctors so far are impressed by his progress, she said.
"He has a lot of mobility in places they thought would take a lot longer to regain," she said.
Tamposi says she has been amazed not just by her cousin's strength but also by the outpouring of community support that has surrounded the family since his injury. She and her sister set up a page on the crowdfunding site gofundme.com, which has raised more than $100,000, and others have reached out with encouraging words or to share inspiring stories of those who have overcome similar obstacles.
Tamposi's mother and Haas' mother are twins, and their children grew up more like siblings than cousins, Tamposi said. She described the range of emotions she and other family members have felt since June, from panic and grief after hearing that Haas had only a 10 percent chance of survival to a steadily building sense of hope as he improved.
"I was just trying to stay calm and tell myself that miracles happen every day, and Alex is the most deserving of all of a miracle," she said. "And seeing humanity at its best has been an amazing thing to witness."
While several colorful "Welcome Home" signs greeted Haas at home, the family kept the celebration low-key, Tamposi said.
"It's going to be a long time before he sees any sense of normalcy, but he's looking forward to getting to work," she said.