Ipswich: Swimmers tell of gym pool evacuation

IPSWICH: Shocked swimmers today told of the moment they were evacuated from a pool following what they believe was a chlorine leak.

The drama unfolded at David Lloyd Leisure at Ransomes Europark at 6.45am on Thursday – and left five people requiring hospital treatment for breathing difficulties.

One of the swimmers given medical treatment was Henry Acres, of Mersey Road, Ipswich, who was put on a steroid nebuliser for three hours.

The 70-year-old said: “I was swimming along and all of sudden there was a burst of liquid and I was enveloped in what I believed was a yellow cloud of chlorine.

“It was like breathing in fire. It left me feeling sick and breathing hard.”

Mr Acres, who is home from hospital, is now on a course of steroid treatment and has been told he will need a lung capacity test in three months’ time to ensure there is no lasting damage.

“It’s still early days but my lungs are bad at the moment,” he added.

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In all, 13 people were evacuated from the swimming pool, including Wendy Turner, of Landseer Road, Ipswich, who said: “There was pure yellow liquid pouring into the pool from a pipe or a vent.

“It was like watching someone being bitten by a shark with blood coming up round them – but it was bright yellow.”

A spokeswoman for David Lloyd Leisure said an investigation is ongoing into what caused pool pumps to stop working – but said there was no indication of a chlorine leak.

“We can confirm that three routine pool tests were carried out – two at 5am and one at 6am – prior to the club opening at 6.30am, which revealed that chlorine levels in the pool were well within the normal parameters,” she added.

“We were given clearance by the fire service to reopen at around 8.30am as there was no indication of a chlorine leak.

“There were four first aiders in the vicinity at the time of the incident and we complied with our standard health and safety procedures.

“We take the health and safety of our members extremely seriously and wish those affected a quick recovery.”

n Were you affected and want to tell your story? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk