Ice Arena manager reveals fresh details about carbon monoxide poisoning

Fresh details have emerged about a horror ice rink poisoning episode that left nearly 50 people in hospital over the weekend.

A faulty machine that was booked for maintenance was the source for the dangerous carbon monoxide leak.

Richard Laidlaw, manager of Adelaide skating rink Ice Arena, said the Zamboni machine used to smooth the ice was the source of the leak and a staff member had flagged it for repairs.

“When one of our duty managers said they thought it (the machine) was running a bit rich, we organised for the mechanic to come in, it was this morning (Monday) that they were coming in, it just so happened that this happened on Saturday,” he told Adelaide radio station FIVEaa on Monday.

Mr Laidlaw said the LPG-powered machine was serviced two months ago but had been shelved after Saturday’s event and the rink was now using a back-up machine.

Ice Arena is South Australia’s only ice skating rink. Google Maps
Camera IconIce Arena is South Australia’s only ice skating rink. Google Maps Credit: News Corp Australia

South Australian Health has confirmed nearly 50 people presented to Royal Adelaide Hospital after visiting the rink at Thebarton.

A women’s ice hockey match between the Adelaide Rush and Melbourne Ice took place that day and Neila Brenning, a hockey star and wife to AFL Western Bulldogs player Marcus Bontempelli, was one of the players poisoned in the leak.

Ms Brenning shared a photo of herself with fellow players Danielle Butler and Stephanie Conlon at Adelaide Airport after the incident.

Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League confirmed in a statement from Sunday that all players had recovered after feeling unwell during the match, which kicked off at 4.45pm.

SA Health said some patients required oxygen therapy.

“The effects of carbon monoxide are generally transient, with symptoms resolving once individuals are no longer exposed to the chemical. However, some people who attended the facility yesterday may still be experiencing symptoms,” the health body said on Sunday.

“Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, tiredness, nausea and in more severe cases, shortness of breath.”

Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier advised pregnant women and young infants to get checked regardless of symptoms.

Mr Laidlaw said Adelaide’s Metropolitan Fire Service “took possession” of the building and discovered the elevated level of carbon monoxide in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“I think it happens around the world, in other ice rinks,” he said.

“They are really like a car.”

The ice rink has returned to operations and patrons were skating there on Monday morning.

SafeWork SA is now investigating the incident and it is understood they will provide their official conclusions by Friday.

Ice Arena is the sole ice rink in South Australia and Premier Peter Malinauskas said the government did not have any immediate plans to fund a second one.


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