School students rushed to hospital as classroom science experiment goes wrong

Gregory Robinson

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School students rushed to hospital as classroom science experiment goes wrong

Featured Image Credit: 9News/Shutterstock

Multiple students from a primary school in Sydney, Australia have been rushed to hospital after a classroom experiment went horribly wrong.

Reports indicate at least two students were transported via ambulance to hospital with serious burns, while nine other pupils – all of whom are aged around 10 years old and in year five – suffered superficial burns.

An 11-year-old pupil was airlifted to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in a helicopter with serious burns.

The other pupil was rushed to the same hospital but in an ambulance alongside a specialist care team on board.

The pupils are all in year five and aged around 10. Credit: Steven Booth / Alamy Stock Photo.
The pupils are all in year five and aged around 10. Credit: Steven Booth / Alamy Stock Photo.

Both children are ‘conscious, breathing and relatively stable', but had ‘needed some intervention from a specialist burns unit', New South Wales Ambulance Acting Superintendent Phil Templeman explained to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Five children have been taken to Royal North Shore Hospital and another four pupils were taken to Northern Beaches Hospital. The children are said to have ‘superficial’ injuries and are stable.

The incident happened at Manly West Public School at around 13:00 local time (02:00 GMT) on Monday (21 November).

Emergency services including helicopters, paramedics and fire trucks were spotted attending the incident at the scene.

Authorities say the children suffered burns to their faces, chests and lower abdomen, and legs when ‘strong winds’ sprayed sodium bicarbonate and methylated spirits during the outdoor experiment, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

It is believed the wind caused chemicals to spray onto children. Credit: Tomasz Żołnierek / Alamy Stock Photo.
It is believed the wind caused chemicals to spray onto children. Credit: Tomasz Żołnierek / Alamy Stock Photo.

Acting Superintendent Phil Templeman added the wind had ‘blown some of the chemicals around a little bit more’ than predicted.

A teacher was also treated for minor injuries.

The nature of the experiment is currently unknown, although it is believed the ingredients were being used in a test known as ‘the worm’, 9News reports.

This experiment – which may also be referred to as the ‘carbon sugar snake’ experiment – typically involves mixing sugar with baking soda and placing a small amount of the mixture in sand which has been soaked in methylated spirits.

An investigation into the experiment will take place. Credit: MBI / Alamy Stock Photo.
An investigation into the experiment will take place. Credit: MBI / Alamy Stock Photo.

A flammable liquid is also usually used to trigger chemical reactions that create a long, blackened carbon sugar ‘worm’ or ‘snake’.

New South Wales Education and Early Learning Minister Sarah Mitchell said the Department of Education, the police and SafeWork New South Wales would investigate. Mitchell has spoken with the school’s principal, Mrs Julie Organ, regarding the incident.

SMH reports that Mitchell also thanked the school staff ‘who acted so quickly to provide first aid and call emergency services’.

UNILAD has contacted Manly West Public School for comment.

Topics: News, Australia, Parenting

Gregory Robinson
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