Six children hospitalised after chemical vapours enter ventilation system at university swimming pool
Six children were hospitalised as a precaution after chemicals found their way into the air conditioning system at a swimming pool.
The incident happened at a pool at NUI Maynooth, Co Kildare, at around 10.30am this morning.
The kids were taken to Crumlin Children's Hospital after they were accessed by a doctor.
A spokesperson for NUI Maynooth said the incident happened at 10.30am at the campus swimming pool.
He said: "NUI Maynooth can confirm an incident occurred at approximately 10.30am this morning at the campus swimming pool when vapour from the swimming pool’s plant room entered the air conditioning system during a maintenance operation.
"The swimming pool was immediately evacuated and the 25 children present were assessed by both the University’s Medical Team and the National Ambulance Service.
"This incident is being investigated by the University and the Health & Safety Authority."
Marie Hand, principal of the Educate Together school in Maynooth, said: “It could have been worse, it could have been absolutely.”
She continued: “The children were attending a swimming lesson in the pool in Maynooth University.
“A short while into the swimming lesson staff noticed that the children were coughing. Some of them were complaining about being nauseous and short of breadth.
“The children were immediately evacuated from the pool and they were removed to an external room where they were assessed by the NUIM doctor - the doctor on the campus.
"The doctor at the campus deemed that some of the children needed further examination.
“The National Ambulance Service arrived at the scene and they reassessed the children and they deemed that six of the children needed further examination - and further assessment.
“Two of the children were taken to Temple Street, two of them to Tallaght and two of them to Crumlin. The remaining children were ferried back to school.
“The NAS returned to the school where they re-examined the children and they spoke to the parents. They deemed all of these children okay to go home with their parents.”
Ms Hand, who was in the pool and school this morning, said it was a scary situation for the children.
“Apparently what happened is some chemical drum was being changed at the back of the pool and some of the vapour got through the air vents into the swimming pool.
“It was just children who got sick.”
The children were aged 8, 9 and 10 and are currently in third and fourth class. The lessons took place every Tuesday morning over a six-week period.
“The six in hospital are just waiting. We haven’t had any feedback from the hospital yet. It was purely precautionary.
“The ambulance service felt that for precautionary purposes that they would be re-examined. We don’t think there’s any major injuries.”
Maynooth Educate Together is located on the Celbridge Road in the town and it caters for 212 pupils - boys and girls.