Lucky escape for Ipswich family after chemical leak at Wild Duck Holiday Park near Great Yarmouth

PUBLISHED: 19:16 21 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:19 22 June 2015

Emergency services at the Wild Duck, Belton where 40 holidaymakers were treated after a chemical incident in the swimming pool. Photo: Steve Adams

Emergency services at the Wild Duck, Belton where 40 holidaymakers were treated after a chemical incident in the swimming pool. Photo: Steve Adams

An Ipswich father-of-three has described his young family’s lucky escape after a chemical leak at a holiday park near Great Yarmouth left almost 30 people in hospital.

Carl Ludlow was enjoying a Father’s Day break with children Finley, six, Jack, 13, Connor, 18, Connor’s partner Sharn Burroughs, 18, and one-year-old granddaughter Leila-Mae at the Wild Duck Holiday Park in Belton when a chemical leak in the entertainment complex’s swimming pool broke out this afternoon.

Some 29 people were taken to hospital with asthma and breathing problems while paramedics treated nine others. None have suffered serious injuries.

Emergency crews were called to the park at around 2.30pm.

Mr Ludlow, 38, said: “It started with the pool being below the normal water level at around 10am, so we were told to return at 2pm.

“We were having a barbecue at our caravan, which is near the swimming pool, and suddenly all these people came running out and crying.

“I don’t know what happened but I could hear the chlorine siren going off. People were lying on the floor.

“But we were quite lucky because we had just finished our lunch and were about to go back in. We have a one-year-old baby so it could have been pretty horrific. It was a blessing we did not go in.

“It would have been a shock for the families involved. It is not the type of thing you expect really. It has marred our break but there is always next year.”

Emergency services, including police, ambulance, fire crews and the East Anglian Air Ambulance were called to the park, at Howard’s Common, at just after 2.30pm today.

It is understood that chlorine gas leaked from a plant room at the indoor swimming pool, which caused almost 40 people in the area to fall ill.

Some 38 people were assessed by ambulance crews at the site – a mixture of children and adults with ages ranging from two to their mid 40s.

Eight people were initially taken to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston with asthma and breathing problems. All are reported to be in a stable condition.

A further 21 were later taken to the James Paget and Ipswich Hospital for further monitoring, with police officers helping ambulance crews to transport patients.

The ambulance service sent three ambulance officers, five ambulances, two critical care paramedics and the hazardous area response team - more than 30 staff. The first officer was on scene within five minutes.

It had been reported that people were lying outside the pool wrapped in blankets, while witnesses said they had seen at least six police cars at the scene.

A 20 metre cordon was put in place around the building, while emergency services attended.

Fire crews from Gorleston, Great Yarmouth and Sprowston, including an environmental protection unit, went to the scene. They isolated the leak.

At 5.50pm police issued a statement that the swimming pool had been declared safe.

Superintendent Roger Wiltshire said: “The incident was quickly contained and the site has now been declared safe by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

“The casualties have now been transferred to hospital to be treated and there is no further risk to those staying on the site or to anyone living locally.”

Haven Holidays spokesman Tom Cassidy said: “Team members from the resort have now gone to each hospital to liaise with the guests.

“As most of the guests were evacuated wearing only swimwear, other team members have gone to their caravans and removed clothing to take to the hospital.

“Other guests at the resort were later allowed back into their caravans although the swimming pools and entertainment complex remains sealed off while health and safety officials carry out investigations.”

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