A woman has been involved in a fatal accident at a thermal pool in New Zealand.
Catherine Hintz, 41, of Palmerston North, was found dead at the bottom of the pool at the Cameron Thermal Motel in Tauranga, in the north east of the country, on New Year’s Eve.
The motel owners and emergency services tried to resuscitate her but she was pronounced dead later in the evening. It is not known how much time she spent underwater.
A spokesman for work safety organisation WorkSafe NZ said it had not yet been notified of the fatal accident and will seek more details before deciding whether to investigate.
Spate of fatal accidents in pools
The incident is the latest in a series of similar fatal accidents that have led a coroner to issue a warning to people not to bathe in hot pools on their own.
Coroner Wallace Bain said bathers should only use thermal pools in a group and that before anyone entered the water, it should be stirred and the levels of hydrogen sulphide gas measured by the pool’s owner.
A 75-year-old Australian GP, Kesho Sharma, was found in a Rotorua motel’s thermal pool last month, and there were similar deaths in the spa town in 2007 and 2008.
Motel owner ‘coping alright’
Rein van Staalduinen, owner of Cameron Thermal Motel, said the business was compliant with the Rotorua District Council and Tauranga City Council by-laws which require hydrogen sulphide tests every six months and daily cleaning of the pools.
Pools must also have a sign warning people not to put their head under water.
Mr Van Staalduinen said he was “fine” and “coping alright” after the fatal accident, and that the motel was open and remained fully booked.
He said: “It’s always something that’s not a good thing to have happened,
but we do cope.”
Post-mortem due in a week
Acting Senior Sergeant Cam Anderson said the post-mortem examination is expected to be completed within a week, and the findings would be passed to the coroner.
He added: “We don’t know what’s caused her to end up in the bottom of the pool and until we get the post-mortem results, it’s just out there.”
Ms Hintz’s family members in Palmerston North did not wish to comment. It is not yet clear whether they plan to make a fatal accident claim.
In the UK, Accident Advice Helpline helps accident victims access the compensation to which they are entitled.
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