At least 12 children from a California competitive swim team were hospitalized Wednesday after inhaling chlorine gas during practice, officials said.
The group of children, between the ages 11 and 15, were at swim practice at Daland Swim School in Thousand Oaks when some of them began feeling sick, FOX11 reported. Swim school owner Leslie Daland-James said the swim pump most likely malfunctioned, causing a concentrate of chlorine gas in the water.
“There was a little bit of chlorine that was concentrated in there and when the pump clicked on, it came out,” Daland-James said. “It was scary for sure. My child was one of the ones in the pool.”
Ventura County Fire Captain Stan Ziegler said the children suffered symptoms that included difficulty breathing and coughing.
Staff members immediately called paramedics, who treated 19 children at the scene and later took 12 to the hospital, Daland-James said. Several children were rinsed off with clean water after getting out of the pool. Paramedics also provided oxygen masks for several swimmers.
“We have been in contact with the parents at the hospital and no one is critically injured,” she said, adding that her son was also taken to the hospital and given asthma medication.
“[The children’s] lungs are hurting a bit but they are going to be fine,” Daland-James said.
The swim school remained closed Thursday to assess the pump’s functionality.