Investigation launched after children hospitalised following incident in swimming pool
“Vapour” entered air conditioning system during maintenance
Children from Maynooth Educate Together Primary School were victims of an alleged chemical cross contamination at the swimming pool at NUI Maynooth this morning. Photograh: Colin Keegan, Collins
An investigation has been launched after six school children were brought to hospital yesterday following an incident in a swimming pool.
The incident occurred at NUI Maynooth at approximately 10.30am when a swimming lesson was taking place for students of local primary school Maynooth Educate Together.
There were 25 children in the pool when some of them began to cough, while others became nauseous and experienced shortness of breath. The pool was evacuated and the emergency services were called.
The HSE National Ambulance Service responded to the incident and some 15 response units – including ambulances and rapid response vehicles – attended the scene.
All of the children were assessed by both the university’s medical team and the National Ambulance Service.
Six of the children were then transferred to hospitals for observation. The remaining 19 children did not require further treatment and were reunited with their families.
Two children were transferred to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, two more to Tallaght Hospital, while the other two were brought to Temple Street hospital.
A spokesman for the university confirmed the incident at the campus and said it had occurred due to “vapour” from the swimming pool’s plant room having entered the air conditioning system during a maintenance operation.
A plant room is an area by a swimming pool that is used for the maintenance of the pool and water purification.
The spokesman last night said the incident was under investigation by the university and the Health and Safety Authority. The swimming pool remains closed until further notice.
The principal of Maynooth Educate Together, Marie Hand, said the situation at the pool had developed “quite suddenly”.
“Shortly into the lesson, the staff noticed the children were coughing – quite suddenly they were coughing,” she said. “Some were quite nauseous and complaining of being short of breath. The children were evacuated from the pool very, very quickly. They were then moved to an external room where they were assessed by the university doctor.”