Swimmers Hospitalized After Dip in St. Pete

At least 25 people were hospitalized with burned eyes and respiratory passages after swimming at a water park in St. Petersburg, authorities said Thursday.

The burns are thought to have been caused by excess chlorine used at the Waterville water park in the city's Vasilyevsky Ostrov district, a spokesman for the St. Petersburg branch of the Investigative Committee said by telephone.

Twenty-five people were hospitalized with burns after swimming at the water park Wednesday, and 13 children and two adults remained in the hospital Thursday, a spokeswoman for the St. Petersburg branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

RIA-Novosti reported late Thursday that 38 people had been hospitalized, including 27 children.

The reason for the difference in the figures was not clear Thursday.

A total of 75 people suffered ill effects after visiting the water park, RIA-Novosti said, citing consumer protection officials.

Some of those hospitalized are in serious condition, the Investigative Committee spokesman said.

Local prosecutors have opened criminal investigations connected to possible negligence by the water park, the spokesman said.

Management at Waterville, whose slogan is "100 Percent Summer," could not be reached for comment Thursday.

In a statement on its web site Thursday, the water park said 25 visitors sought medical attention, nine of whom were hospitalized. The water park would be closed until at least Thursday evening, the statement said.

A total of 2,270 people visited the water park Wednesday, the statement said.

Tatyana Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Federal Consumer Protection Service, said by telephone from St. Petersburg that her agency had visited Waterville and tested the water but that it would take several days for the results to come back.

Water parks have a checkered history in Russia. In 2004, the roof of Moscow's Transvaal water park collapsed, killing 28 people. The victims' families later received compensation from the city government.

Prosecutors opened criminal investigations against Transvaal architect Nodar Kancheli and City Hall official Anatoly Voronin, though both cases were eventually dropped.