Stoke: Waterworld bosses say reaction was ‘huge overreaction’

Water park bosses say the experience was “troubling” for customers (Image: BPM Media/SWNS)

Bosses at a water park in Stoke-on-Trent evacuated today said there had been a “huge overreaction” from emergency services.

People had been pushed out of Waterworld on Festival Way by 2pm.

A total of 110 people were evacuated and 46 were treated by rescue workers.

Two people were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

An air ambulance and hazardous area response team had also been deployed as part of the response.

“That’s completely exaggerated,” claimed a Waterworld spokesman tonight.

He said: “The huge overreaction by the emergency services has been incredibly distressing for our customers and our staff.

“We had received a small number of reports from customers of eye and throat irritation and were addressing the situation.

FILE PICTURE - AGM of swimmers at Waterworld in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. See SWNS story SWMDswim. Rescue services rushed to Britain's largest indoor water park this afternoon (Wednesday) after reports of swimmers suffering from nausea and eye irritation. Waterworld in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., was evacuated around 2pm, with ambulance chiefs urging people to avoid the area. Police, paramedics and firefighters were all on the scene after a number of guests reportedly felt unwell at the multi-million pound attraction.

Emergency services rushed to the indoor water park earlier today (Image: SWNS)

“It was never necessary to call the emergency services.”

Waterworld will be closed tomorrow as a precaution to conduct further testing.

The spokesperson added: ‘Despite rigorous testing by our in-house team and the emergency services using their own specialist equipment, no harmful gases, liquids or other substances of any kind were found in the water and air samples for chlorine gas levels came back as usual.’

Staffordshire Police closed part of the Festival Way earlier today to allow emergency access.

Witnesses had reported seeing up to eight ambulances and three fire engines during the evacuation.

Rebecca Rowntree, from Cheshire, was one of the first to sound the alarm today.

She and her family arrived at the water park at 11.15am today.

She told “I joked with my husband that the staff looked like they had Covid as they looked so ill.

“We kept going and after about an hour my legs were itching like never before.”

Rebecca said that she got dizzy and that everyone at the water park was “coughing and sneezing.”

Ambulance arrived at Waterworld this afternoon and the ambulance also landed. Witnesses have reported seeing up to eight ambulances and three fire engines, as well as the police present. Please note: the image supplied to Stoke Sentinel is one delivery only. Reach PLC accepts no liability as a result of use.

Witnesses had reported seeing up to eight ambulances and three fire engines (Image: BPM Media)

She has been told that she will receive a refund from Waterworld within the next five days.

Rebecca asked to make a complaint on her visit today and was taken to a manager’s office.

There she was informed that tests had already been carried out on the water.

She said: “We left and then saw on the news that people were being evacuated. I felt validated that I had said something now.

“I’m not usually one to moan about things and I was concerned that maybe it was just me.”

She rushed her son to hospital tonight on the advice of 111 as his cough was “so bad”.

A spokeswoman for the West Midlands Ambulance Service said today: “Waterworld has been evacuated after a number of people inside showed minor symptoms including watery eyes, a runny nose and nausea.

“A man and a woman were taken to the hospital for further checks as a precaution.

“This was a well-managed tri-service response that allowed large numbers of people to be evacuated safely and quickly. Luckily, none of those involved were in a serious condition.

Waterworld, the UK’s largest indoor water park, attracts thousands of visitors each year.

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Justin Scacco

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