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I feared for my girl's life in swimming pool chemical scare – mum

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Ordeal: Nadia (9) is back home with her mother Annette Chernus after the drama at the NUI Maynooth pool. Photo: Frank McGrath

Ordeal: Nadia (9) is back home with her mother Annette Chernus after the drama at the NUI Maynooth pool. Photo: Frank McGrath

Ordeal: Nadia (9) is back home with her mother Annette Chernus after the drama at the NUI Maynooth pool. Photo: Frank McGrath

A MUM has told how she feared for her daughter's life after a chemical leak at a swimming pool.

Nadia Chernus (9) was one of 25 children caught up in the terrifying drama at the pool in NUI Maynooth.

Her mum Annette Chernus (35) said she feared the worst. "I knew the chemical was something you breathe so I thought 'what about her lungs?'," Annette told the Herald.

Nadia added: "I was scared, it hurt my chest. I was coughing."

The incident happened yesterday morning as a group of 25 third and fourth class pupils from the Maynooth Educate Together school were swimming at the NUI pool.

Six children who were hospitalised have now been discharged.

Emergency

All of the group are aged under-nine and parents spoke of their fears when they were alerted to the emergency.

Mother-of-two Mrs Chernus (35) admitted that she feared the worst when she first got the phone call shortly after 11am yesterday morning. She explained that because English is her second language she initially thought that there had been an explosion.

"She (the school secretary) was so calm and said that everyone was okay," she said.

"The paramedics waited in the school for all the parents to come and then they had a short meeting with us. They went through what was happening with us and what it was all about," she said.

The children were evacuated from the swimming pool when chemicals entered the facilities through the air-conditioning system during a maintenance operation shortly after 10.30am yesterday.

A total of six children were treated in hospital before being released, while the remaining 19 pupils were then brought back to the school by paramedics.

School principal Marie Hand said there was nothing to cause "any major concern" and that it was "a huge relief".

Today she said that all the children who had been hospitalised were discharged last night.

The Chernus family moved to Maynooth from their native Norway last July, and plan to stay here until later this summer.

Annette and her husband Alexander (36) praised the professional approach from the staff at the school and swimming pool, but are now demanding an explanation.

"Everything was so professional, but now I am starting to think. I hope it won't happen again," she said.

Ms Hand said it was the first incident of its kind to occur in the school's history.

Clean

"We have been using the pool for two years now and believe it is well managed and clean, and that the swim lessons are well delivered," she told the Herald this morning.

"We hope to continue our relationship with the pool and are satisfied the problem that occurred yesterday will be completely rectified," she added.

A spokesperson for NUIM confirmed they are investigating the incident, along with the Health and Safety Authority.

 

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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