A POOL’s water circulation system failed to restart after a power cut – which resulted in 13 children taken to hospital with breathing difficulties.

Greenwich Leisure Ltd said the circulation system on the swimming pool at Chesham Leisure Centre malfunctioned following a planned power cut by the UK Power Network yesterday.

The company, which runs the White Hill-based leisure centre, said this “resulted in a strong smell in the pool area.”

In total, 13 children from Gateway School were taken to Wexham Park and Stoke Mandeville Hospitals, with a further five youngsters and four adults treated by paramedics at the school in Great Missenden.

The children have since been released after they were checked out by medics for symptoms including headaches, sickness and coughing.

In a statement, GLL said: “We apologise for any distress or upset caused to the children and staff of the Gateway School as a result of an incident at Chesham Leisure Centre yesterday.

“Water circulation in the swimming pools failed to restart after a planned power cut by UK Power Network on 30th April, which resulted in a strong smell in the pool area.

“Emergency procedures were followed, the area was immediately evacuated and a number of pupils were taken to hospital for precautionary medical checks.

“A full investigation has now taken place and it was found that all the proper procedures were followed. The pools have now re-opened.”

Police, paramedics and firefightes were called to the scene at about 1pm.

Thames Valley Police tweeted to say the children had been affected by a "brief spike in cleaning chemicals in the pool".

About 30 schoolchildren had been taking part in a swimming class.

Gateway headteacher Sue La Farge said: “I am pleased that everyone responded so responsibly to this incident.

"Pupils and parents were naturally upset but the school contacted parents and the ambulance and paramedic team responded swiftly and professionally with the children.”

A close friend of one of the parents told the BFP the families are “fuming”.

The woman, who declined to give her name, said: “The children have been checked and are all fine, thank god, but no-one wants their children subjected to chemicals.”