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Aquatic centre chemical incident leaves six in hospital

Aquatic centre chemical incident leaves six in hospital
December 3, 2018

A child is in a serious condition, a further five have been hospitalised and over a dozen people have been treated after a chemical spill at the Wollondilly Leisure Centre in Picton, NSW earlier today.

Emergency services were called to the facility in Macarthur region about 10am (AEDT) after reports of people being affected by chemicals.

NSW Ambulance Deputy Director of Critical Operations Ian Johns said 14 people had been treated - mostly young children taking swimming lessons - for health issues caused by the spill.

Johns told the ABC “it turns out some chemicals were mixed with the pool and some people had an adverse event.

"The chemicals gave off a gas and caused minor breathing and airway irritation and some localised skin and eye irritation.

"So once they were out of the affected area, paramedics were assessing and treating … thankfully (only) minor irritation this morning."

One child is in a serious condition and two other children and an adult are in stable conditions at Campbelltown Hospital. Another adult and child were taken to Bowral Hospital in a stable condition.

Following the incident, facility owner the Wollondilly Shire Council shut down the indoor pool as a precaution, while the rest of the venue remained open.

A statement from the Council later advised that the incident occurred following an operational need to use a super-dose of disinfectant.

The superchlorination is believed to have been required following a ‘Code Brown’ event, with a child having defecated in the swimming pool.

The statement advised “unfortunately a chemical spill occurred during this process, resulting in fumes, and emergency services were called by the contracted operator of the facility.

“Emergency services have arranged for the observation of those who have pre-existing respiratory issues.”

Update: As of Tuesday 4th December, Wollondilly Shire Council advised on Twitter that “the centre is open and operating as normal following an isolated incident Monday morning. We are working with authorities to fully investigate the matter over the coming days. We have been given the all clear to re-open as normal.”

Image: The Wollondilly Leisure Centre, courtesy of Wollondilly Shire Council.

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