Management at a leading leisure centre chain has apologised to parents of sick children in Co Donegal after they wrongly claimed they had made a full recovery and had been released from hospital.
The children remain under observation at Letterkenny University Hospital after ‘backwash’ water was allowed back into a swimming pool at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny yesterday.
A total of six children were admitted to the hospital after becoming ill when the water became contaminated.
More than 80 people were in the pool area at the time of the incident.
Management at the hospital triggered their Emergency Response Plan as fire tenders and ambulance personnel rushed to the scene.
Most were treated at the scene but six children had to be taken to hospital for additional treatment.
Management at the Aura claimed last night that all children had been released from hospital.
The spokesperson has said:
However, the family of one of two children who remained in hospital slammed the statement as inaccurate.
This morning the Aura apologised to the families for any distress caused and said they will be keeping close contact with the families throughout the day.
“In speaking this morning with the parents of the children who were brought to the regional hospital yesterday, we learned that, contrary to what we had been advised by the hospital yesterday afternoon, two children were in fact retained for observation overnight.
“The safety and wellbeing of the children in question is of our utmost concern.”
The company explained that an issue arose where backwash (which is pool water that is contained in the filtration system) leaked back into the pool which caused some cloudiness and gave rise to foul odours.
They said that in line with their safety procedures, as a precautionary safety measure, they evacuated the pool and notified the emergency services to ensure that every person in the pool was checked for any reactionary medical issues.
A statement added:
“The emergency services responded very quickly, and several children were brought to hospital for further assessment.
"We are pleased to report they have since been released. We would like to thank the Emergency Services and the staff of Letterkenny Hospital for their prompt response and professionalism.
“While today’s response might be criticised as an overreaction to the cloudy water conditions, it is reassuring that the Emergency Services and the Hospital share our ‘safety first’ policy – "It’s better to be safe than to be sorry".
“The pool has now fully reopened and we wish to apologise for any anxiety that may have been caused to children and parents this morning; again, a safety first policy means that we take no shortcuts when it comes to protecting our customers and staff.
"Thank you for your patience and understanding.”
Local county councillor Gerry McMonagle, who was at the scene, said staff and emergency services should be commended for their rap[id response.
However, he added that a full investigation needed to be carried out to prevent a similar accident happening again.