Nearly 30 children sickened at NC water park

WHITE LAKE, NC (WECT) – Around 25 children were rushed to a hospital Thursday afternoon when too much of a certain chemical was pumped into a pool at White Lake Water Park, according to Bladen County Emergency Services.


The incident happened around 3:20 p.m. Thursday at the park off Highway 53 in Elizabethtown.

Park owner Ted Hucks said an employee shut down one of the pumps in a new wave pool but did not turn the chlorine system off. This caused chlorine to continue pumping for a while.

When everything was turned back on there was a large amount of chlorine pumped into the pool.   Around 9:30 pm Thursday, White Lake Water Park said the chemical solution involved was not chlorine, but was instead  ” pool bleach sanitizer.”

Emergency Services Director Bradley Kinlaw said five victims were transported to the hospital by ambulance and more than 20 more were transported in church vans to hospitals to get checked out.

Kinlaw said the children were experiencing nausea and vomiting.

Several public safety agencies responded, including the Bladen County Health Department. Tests were done to make sure the chemical levels are where they should be.

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On Thursday night, White Lake Water Park issued a statement on their Facebook page explaining what happened:

.”… a higher than normal amount of pool bleach sanitizer was introduced into the pool by accident. There were many people in the pool at the time of the incident. A local school had around 25 children in the pool, most of which were in the shallow end of the pool. The bleach entered the pool through the return inlets which are located in the floor of the pool. The return inlets located in the deeper water diluted the bleach before it could rise to the surface, but the return inlets located in the shallow water allowed the bleach odor to escape to the surface where these children were playing,” the water park management said.

Hucks said the park remains open. A photo was posted to the park’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon showing that the wave pool is open.

There’s no word yet on the age of the victims.

Copyright 2015 WECT. All rights reserved.

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