Tuesday 25 October 2016

'My scalp felt like it was burning' - Grandmother's horror as twelve hospitalised after chlorine fears at popular water park

Elaine Keogh and Sasha Brady

Published 03/04/2016 | 13:19

Around 12 people, including children, received hospital attention after an incident involving chlorine in a popular water park on Friday afternoon, gardai said.

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The management of Funtasia Waterpark in Drogheda said there was a strong smell of chlorine in the pool and added that system checks "showed the level of chlorine in the pool was within acceptable levels."

However a number of parents spoke about symptoms they and their children experienced.

Declan Dunne from Skerries, went to Funtasia with his three children and their two cousins, aged between five and 13 years. Yesterday one of their cousins, an 11-year-old boy, was still in Temple Street Children's Hospital being treated for a severe inflammation of the larynx.

Mr Dunne said: "I saw a lifeguard come into the water park. He covered his mouth and nose with a T-shirt and began to open windows and doors. It was just after 1pm.

"A few minutes later I saw another staff member help an adult customer who had vomit on him from a child. Then my five-year-old son began complaining of sore eyes and wanting to get out," he added.

Medics assured gardai that it was not a life-threatening incident.

Jennifer McCreanor from Louth was there with her two grandchildren, Corey (4) and Chloe (7), who she was taking care of for the Easter school holidays.

"We got there at about 11 but we were out before 1pm," she told Independent.ie.

"I knew something was wrong when Chloe kept coughing but I assumed she had been running around too much.

"Then I got a spalsh in my eye and my eye started to burn. I soon noticed the smell. I could only describe it as a smell of toxins in the air. It was really strong. I had tears streaming down my face," she said.

Mrs McCreanor spoke to the pool attendants but claims she couldn't get a satisfactory response.

"There was no proper explanation. They mentioned that the temperature of the pool wasn't right for the chlorine but they should have set up a proper evacuation plan to get everyone out. There was no system in place. I saw people queuing to enter the pool as I was leaving" she said.

Mrs McCreanor said her grandchildren are still feeling the effects of the chlorine two days after leaving the water park.

"I was up with them until 2am the day we came back. It hit Corey the worst as he has asthma but they were both up all night coughing.

"Even my own scalp felt like it was burning. It was the same sensation that I feel when I colour my hair. I wasn't even in the water. That's just from the air. I had to wash it with baby shampoo when I got home."

In a statement Funtasia said: "There was a very strong smell of chlorine in the swimming pool of the complex on Friday, April 1. System checks showed that the level of chlorine in the pool was within acceptable levels, however some of those present experienced symptoms such as nausea, coughing, watering eyes and running noses.

"The pool area was cleared of customers as soon as possible and subsequently closed. A full recalibration of the pool system is under way and the pool will remain closed until this is complete. If anyone experienced symptoms it is advised they seek medical advice.

"Customers can talk to the venue team directly at (041) 9898 000 or send an email to partyoffice@funtasia.ie."

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