Major incident declared at London Aquatics Centre

London Aquatics Centre, one of the main venues for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, was today (Wednesday) at the centre of a major incident following what was described as a gas leak at the facility.

Around 200 people were evacuated from the Centre at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford this morning, with the BBC reporting that dozens of people were suffering breathing difficulties.

The Centre’s operator, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), said the release of gas happened during the delivery of “pool chemicals” to the facility. It added: “We are awaiting guidance from the facilities management company, London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and the emergency services on when the centre will be able to reopen.”

London Aquatics Centre said on its Twitter account: “At approximately 10am this morning we took the decision to evacuate the London Aquatics Centre. This was due to a release of gas that occurred when the facilities management company that operates the plant room took delivery of pool chemicals.”

The Centre later added that all bookings for today and tomorrow have been cancelled. The fire service said the gas leak had been caused by a chemical reaction, causing a “high quantity of chlorine gas” to be released.

“While we ventilate the premises we would ask those residents in the immediate vicinity to close doors and windows,” said a London Fire Brigade spokeswoman.

Shaun Coltress, station commander for the London Fire Brigade, added, according to the Evening Standard newspaper: “It’s my understanding that the Centre was open at the time of the call.

“On arrival there had been a large quantity of chemical reaction that had caused chlorine gas to form. There was a multi-agency response from police, ambulance and fire service attending worked people working in the building to ensure the evacuation process was robust.”

The Aquatics Centre was opened to the public in 2014. Today’s news comes after the CSM Sport & Entertainment agency was last week appointed by the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to help shape and lead its commercial proposition ahead of the 10th anniversary of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Image: Dan Poulton on Unsplash