Nearly 50 people sent to the hospital vomiting and bleeding after being exposed to chlorine gas at a Utah public pool
- A pump malfunctioned and forced too much chlorine out of a jet at Pleasant Grove Veterans Memorial Pool in Utah on Tuesday
- Swimmers were coughing, vomiting and bleeding from their noses
- 26 people were taken to the hospital by ambulance and between 22 and 24 people transported themselves
- Most of the victims were treated and released later that day
Dozens of swimmers were sickened by chlorine gas at a Utah public pool in what police are calling a ‘freak accident’.
A pump malfunctioned at Pleasant Grove Veterans Memorial Pool and forced too much chlorine out of a jet on Tuesday, according to Pleasant Grove Police Capt Britt Smith.
The chlorine caused people to cough, vomit and bleed from their noses, he said.
Nearly 50 people, mostly children, were sickened and ambulances took 26 people to hospitals. Between 22 to 24 transported themselves, reported Deseret News.
A pump malfunctioned at Pleasant Grove Veterans Memorial Pool in Utah (pictured) and forced too much chlorine out of a jet on Tuesday, sickening nearly 50 people
Paramedics were called to the scene around 5pm and immediately began checking the pool-goers’ blood-oxygen levels.
‘We asked for mutual aid immediately and we triaged the patients very, very quickly,’ Capt Smith told the Daily Herald.
Patients were seen at Timpanogos Regional Hospital, Utah Valley Hospital and American Fork Hospital, the newspaper reported.
Chlorine gas is yellow-green in color and has a strong odor, making it easily detectable.
When this gas comes into contact with moist body tissues such as the eyes and throat, an acid is produced that can cause damage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms of exposure include blurred vision, redness or blisters on the skin, coughing, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting.
There is no antidote for chlorine exposure, so treatment consists of removing chlorine from the body and abating symptoms.
More than 6,300 exposures to chlorine were reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers in 2016, which makes it the most common inhalational irritant in the US.
According to KSL-TV, the majority of patients were treated and released from area hospitals the same day.
Five-year-old Luke Burnett, who was the last child out of the pool, was the first child to have be transferred to pediatric intensive care.
He was cleared to go home from Timpanogos Regional Hospital on Wednesday evening.
His mother told the station that Luke stills feels stomach pain, but is no longer complaining of dizziness or lethargy as he was when he first exited the pool.
Capt Smith said the pool will be closed for the unforeseen future but believe this was just an unfortunate accident.
‘Nothing leads us to believe this [incident] was intentional. It’s not a criminal investigation – it’s more of a governmental issue. The city has a responsibility to investigate.’