Boy loses both legs below knee in water-park accident

Posted | Contributed by supermandl

A seven-year-old boy seriously injured in a swimming pool accident at a Quebec water park has lost both legs below the knee. One of the boy's legs was severed Monday when he got caught in an intake pipe at the bottom of the pool. Alexis Auclair had been playing in the pool at the water park in Saint-Pie, about 50 kilometres east of Montreal. "He was sucked up in the tube," said witness Frederik Chr├ętien, an employee at Le Camping des Glissades d'eau St-Pie. leg was amputated in hospital.

Read more from The CBC.

Jeff's avatar
It shouldn't matter if a person gets "too close" to an intake... they should never get sucked into a place there are rotating blades or be submerged under water.
I just watched the news here and one of the owner mentionned the intake plastic cover wasn't even bolted in. It was just pushed in!

I forgot... the daughter of the water park owner said: "its the parents fault, they should have watched their kid more".*** This post was edited by Absimilliard 7/11/2006 6:08:16 PM ***

nasai's avatar
Presumably, the owner has since told his/her daughter to keep her freakin' mouth shut when around the press.
What a pointless tragedy.

I've never worked with a system where the pump was that close to the intakes. Everything I've worked with has had that equipment far down the line in the pumphouse.

I am surprised as well that the pump was that close. This is just awful.
Dang, this is completely unacceptable. If people get too close to the pump, that's when it should be turned off, not after a kid gets sucked in.
You're missing the point. The kid's leg shouldn't have gotten into the intake in the first place.
A couple of thoughts....

First, the fact that the pump impeller was so close to the intake in the pool doesn't make sense...I am very familair with waterpark/pool filtration and I have never seen an application like there may be a mising "piece" doesn't make any sense. Dorv is right....pumps and motors are in pump rooms, which are more than a legs length away from the pool wall.

Second, while I am not familiar with Pool Codes in Canada, in just about every state/county in the US, there are codes that require duel suction intakes, whereas if one gets blocked, a second will take away the pressure. This is basically pool design 101. There are also mechanical devices (Stengel) that can automatically shut off a pump if the suction side gets blocked....

The fact the drain cover was not secured is inexcusable. Again, this is pool operations 101.

There is more to this tradegy than we currently know...

Well, the problem is that the pump was powerful enough to suck the kid to the blades... over a distance of 7 meters (23-24 feet!). After the pump was stopped... he floated back out.
If a 7 year old got sucked into a 30cm pipe, for a distance of 20+ feet....he would not "float" back out. This is not plausable. Entrapment events do not occur in this manner.
crazy horse's avatar
This is terrible.

How could something like this happen? My heart goes out to this child and his family.

SFoGswim's avatar
What kind of pump has a pipe that's almost a foot in diameter?!
Anybody remember The Wave at Geauga Lake? One of the (probably many) reasons of its demise were the HUGE intakes that kept sucking people toward them and, sometimes, into the grates.
Jeff's avatar
Regardless of the facts, the owners clearly have no business operating a water park. I hope they get sued and criminally charged.
I swam in the wave countless times and I don't recall ever feeling the sensation of being "sucked in" to the intakes.

I agree with Jeff. The owners better be held criminally responsible and the park should not reopen unless there are new owners.

Jeff, you are right on all counts.

This may be the only time anyone hears me say this:

Parents watching the kid or not, it shouldn't have happened in the first place.

I hope all of you who are so ready to cast your stones don't live in glass houses.

Damn you all to hell.

Here is an update to the story with a photo of the water-slide pool in question. There were at least three inlets, all along the side of the slide splash-down pool, away from where guests should slide or exit the slide.

This kid is very lucky to be alive. He was indeed sucked 7m (~23 ft) up the 22 cm (8") pipe intake. I have to assume that when the pump was shut off, the pressure of the water flowing back down the pipe (from the top of the slide to the pump) was enough to push him back into the pool. If he jammed in the pipe, he would be dead.

I still have 2 burning questions. 1: How could the lifeguard not notice the cover missing from the pipe? 2: What was the kid doing off to the side, near the bottom of the pool? (The inlets are not near the slide splash-down or exit, he would have had to swim towards them and drop to the bottom.)

I've heard other stories about kids getting caught in inlets, but this is the first I've heard of a waterslide inlet. More than a decade ago, I read a 'survival' story about a kid who was playing in a public fountain and got his leg caught in the inlet -- the challenge there was that there was no staff to turn it off. He lived, with the help of a firefighter rescue squad. (Moral of the story: Don't let kids play in bodies of water not intended for people.) Last summer, a young girl drowned in Ontario when her long hair got caught in a backyard pool inlet. Her family was nearby, but not watching her at the moment. When swimming, a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death. (Moral of the story: Never swim alone.)*** This post was edited by greatwhitenorth 7/12/2006 11:35:50 AM ***

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