Authorities in Texas have closed a water park indefinitely after dozens of people became ill due to a chemical irritant linked to the resort’s kiddie pool. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown in Spring, Texas, was ordered to cease its operations on Saturday by a local judge after bathers began experiencing skin and respiratory issues.
According to the Spring Fire Department, around 60 persons were impacted, and at least 31 were sent to surrounding hospitals. One mother went into delivery, and a kid with severe reaction was brought to the hospital but subsequently stabilized, said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who ordered the park’s closure.
According to a Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office statement, the illnesses were thought to be caused by bleach and 35% sulfuric acid. These chemicals were utilized to keep the pool clean and maintain a balanced pH, according to Rachel Neutzler, a representative for the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.
“These are normal chemicals that are used every day at these facilities,” she told The New York Times. “But these are the specific chemicals that we believe are causing the respiratory and skin irritations. We just don’t know why. We don’t know if there was too much. We don’t know if it was in the air. We don’t know if there was a malfunction.”
Hidalgo stated that air and water testing taken at the site revealed no anomalies. Additionally, the park’s water monitoring system did not emit any warnings, “but obviously we had evidence from these folks being sick that something was wrong.”
Due to the park’s inability to pinpoint the specific cause at the moment, she said, it has to stop its operation until further notice and cannot reopen “without having improved their systems so that this doesn’t happen again.”
Steven Morris and his 9-year-old daughter, Lia, were among those sent to the hospital from the park. Morris told KPRC that his daughter was weeping and vomiting as she emerged from the water.
“I thought it was a terrorist attack. It felt like we got gassed,” he said.
Another parkgoer, who requested anonymity, informed the station that his son was being monitored at a hospital due to fears about long-term health consequences.
“It’s very traumatic, man. My heart goes out to all the families out there and all the kids. It couldn’t happen in the worst spot,” he said.