Swimmers overcome by noxious gas spillage

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The Independent Online

More than 40 swimmers, including young children, were taken to hospital with breathing difficulties after a chemical spillage at a Scottish leisure complex yesterday.

Residents were advised to stay in their homes with windows shut as up to 50 firefighters used chemicals to neutralise the gases. Health and safety executive officials are to investigate how the fumes seeped into the main pool and children's play area at the Time Capsule in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire.

The spillage was believed to have occurred when sodium hydrochlorite reacted with hydrochloric acid as a deliveryman was pumping one of the chemicals into a container.

Mark McGuinness, 15, from Coatbridge, said smoke began rising from the pool. "There was panic and people were screaming," he said. "I couldn't breathe properly, but it was all right as soon as I got outside."