Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Boys injured on 'poisonous slide'

Victoria Park
Victoria Park is expected to be reopened on Tuesday

Part of a park in Portsmouth has been reopened after children came into contact with a chemical on a slide.

The two boys, aged nine and 12, were playing in Victoria Park when their eyes started streaming on Sunday.

It is thought the chemical came into contact with the slide before it was transported to England.

Suspected illegal immigrants were found hiding inside the slide while it was in Calais, France, and tear gas may have been used to remove them.

The injured boys were washed down with soap and water and taken to hospital.

'Mustard gas'

Paramedics also complained of similar symptoms soon after they arrived and were also treated.

No-one was expected to suffer any long-term problems.

Portsmouth councillor Terry Hall said: "Part of the park was cordoned off and secured because it is where we are building a new play park for children.


It's a story you can't make up. It sounds like a Sherlock Holmes story to me

Councillor Terry Hall

"Somehow the young people got in there and came down with these symptoms along with the paramedics.

"There are no chemicals on the site, we were concerned that we may have drilled down and found something under the ground, like mustard gas, but there was no evidence of that.

"But we are almost 99% sure what the answer is, it was a real mystery.

"We contacted the supplier of the slide and found out the slide came on a lorry from Germany.

"When it reached Calais there was some suspected illegal immigrants and police put tear gas in.

"They were no messages on the slide to say it was contaminated with tear gas.

"It's a story you can't make up. It sounds like a Sherlock Holmes story to me."

The section of park closed off was reopened on Tuesday.



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