Twelve pupils taken ill with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning during scuba diving lesson

The Manchester Grammar School Credit: MEN Syndication

Police are investigating after 12 boys from The Manchester Grammar School were taken to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning after falling ill during a scuba diving class.

One pupil, aged 14, had to be given oxygen by a school nurse which may have saved his life. He is currently in a stable condition.It happened at MGS’s on-site swimming pool.

Police, along with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Public Health England, are now investigating the company who supplied the air tanks – Aqualogistics based on Chester Road, in Stockport.

Divers have also been put on alert and told any tanks filled and supplied by the business recently must be returned as a matter of urgency.A message on the company’s website says: “Air Fill Recall – If you have any unused gas fills (Air, Nitrox or Trimix) from Aqualogistics, please do not use them and please return them to us for checking”. It adds the shop is currently closed.

Dr Martin Boulton, high master at Manchester Grammar School, in Fallowfield, said the boys were taken ill just after 3pm on Monday. He added: “As part of our activities week an external company was holding a scuba diving course in our swimming pool when two of the boys taking part became very unwell.“Emergency services were called and the two boys were immediately taken to hospital by ambulance. Several of the other boys later felt unwell and were also taken.“As a precautionary measure the remaining boys who were on the course were also seen at hospital to determine whether they needed treatment. Our thoughts are with all the boys and their parents and we will continue to offer them support.”

One of the boys remains in hospital where he is in a stable condition, 11 others have been discharged.Police have confirmed officers are looking at the possibility that carbon monoxide was present in the air tanks.

A statement said:

Carbon monoxide in air tanks can be lethal and is especially dangerous under water. One Stockport diver, who asked not to be named, said: “We are in the middle of the diving season and there has been lovely weather. It is life support equipment at the end of the day, if it doesn’t work 20m underwater then it is goodnight.”

A HSE spokesman said: “We are aware of this incident and are supporting the police’s response.”The M.E.N. has tried to contact Aqualogistics but no one from the firm was available for comment.