Ten tourists poisoned by chlorine leak in a Spanish hotel pool

by Lorraine Williamson
chlorine leak

MALLORCA – Up to 26 people, 10 of them minors, have been affected by a chlorine leak in the swimming pool of a hotel in Mallorca. A 7-year-old boy was taken to Son Espases hospital in Palma with a serious prognosis.  

The swimming pool chlorine leak in the Sea Club hotel, Port d’Alcúdia (Mallorca), released more chlorine than it should have. Consequently, the victims suffered from severe eye irritation and coughing fits. 

Up to 14 units of the Balearic Islands’ SAMU came to the hotel on Monday to care for the 26 affected people. However, a 7-year-old boy was transferred to the university hospital in Palma with a serious prognosis. Another nine swimmers with a less severe prognosis were admitted to various health centres and private clinics on the island. Medical services on-site treated a further 16 people. However, they have since been discharged because their symptoms were relatively mild and resolved quickly. 

Symptoms of Chlorine Poisoning 

The lifeguard and hotel security guards were warned at around 11.30 on Monday by some hotel customers. Several individuals, including children, showed symptoms of chlorine poisoning, such as eye irritation, coughing, or respiratory distress. Given the possibility that it was a leak, the lifeguards immediately called everyone out of the pool. The emergency service 061 was then contacted. 

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Suspected malfunction in dispenser 

The Guardia Civil, the local police of Alcùdia, and the fire brigade of Mallorca went to the hotel to investigate what happened. The first hypotheses point to a chlorine leak caused by a problem or malfunction in the dispenser responsible for delivering this chemical to the water. More chlorine would have dissolved than it should. The officers have closed the pool and prohibited other guests from using it. 

Risks of Chlorine 

Chlorine has an oxidizing and corrosive effect. Inhalation of chlorine damages the respiratory tract. It can cause bronchospasm and inflammation, leading to bronchoconstriction. The nature of the symptoms of inhalation of chlorine vapors is determined by the exposure conditions (concentration and duration) and by the type of victim (child versus adult, presence or absence of heart or lung problems). 

The following symptoms are possible: irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, pain in the upper respiratory tract when breathing, cough, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting, and even very serious symptoms such as cyanosis, glottal edema, and laryngeal spasm. The first signs appear a few minutes after inhalation. 

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