Chemical Leak at Houston Area Waterpark Sends Dozens to Hospital
A chemical leak at a Texas water park sent dozens of people to the hospital on Saturday.
The incident began around 2:30 pm on Saturday in a children's pool at Six Flags Hurricane Splashtown in Spring, Texas when a lifeguard and several guests started to get sick.
According to the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office, children and their parents began experiencing respiratory issues and 28 of them were transported to hospitals.
The park was quickly evacuated. Investigators conducted preliminary tests of the air and water and found the water had a chemical combination of 35% sulfuric acid and 10-13% bleach. The chemicals are commonly used to clean and treat swimming pools.
Over 65 people were contaminated by the chemicals, however, no one suffered any chemical burns. The affected persons were decontaminated.
The most serious case involved a 3-year-old, and as of Sunday, that child was in stable condition at Texas Children's Hospital.
"Everybody else was in the less urgent position," said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. "Most people were feeling better afterward."
Representatives from the water park said in a statement on Sunday night that preliminary findings indicated "there was a vapor release in a small outdoor section of the water park that quickly dissipated."
A spokesperson for Six Flags says that the water park will be closed for at least two days to investigate the incident.
The statement read in part:
We are working hand in hand with Harris County Public Health officials, along with third-party industry experts, to determine a cause, and we will reopen when we are confident it is safe to do so.
Hidalgo said that the park is supposed to have systems in place to track the water's pH level and alert crews quickly should something be wrong. However, she reiterated that the city will make sure this doesn't happen again.
"If you can have 60-plus people get sick, and your system doesn't catch it...then clearly something is wrong with the system," she said.