Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Hot pools to get safety signs

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Coroner Wallace Bain has recommended the Rotorua Lakes Council make it compulsory for signage recommending people do not swim alone in geothermal pools. Photo / Supplied
Coroner Wallace Bain has recommended the Rotorua Lakes Council make it compulsory for signage recommending people do not swim alone in geothermal pools. Photo / Supplied

The Rotorua Lakes Council will adopt a coroner's recommendation that safety signage on geothermal hot pools be compulsory recommending people do not bathe alone.

Coroner Wallace Bain made the call after releasing his findings into the death of an Indian visitor in a Rotorua motel hot pool. He found there was no clear cause of death, but recommended people did not bathe alone in thermal pools and asked the Rotorua Lakes Council to consider making it compulsory to have signage to that effect.

Dr Kesho Dutt Sharma, 75, was found dead in a hot pool at the Rob Roy Motel on Fenton St about 3pm on December 7, 2013.

Bay of Plenty coroner Dr Wallace Bain.
Bay of Plenty coroner Dr Wallace Bain.


Coroner Bain said in his formal findings that Dr Sharma "died ... in circumstances consistent with drowning but against a background of significant exposure to hydrogen sulphide which may have been a contributing factor to the death".

"The court notes, however, that there is the possibility that there was a fainting from the heat of the water and/or arrhythmia from the enlarged heart.

The court cannot be satisfied to the legal standard required that there is a clear cause of death," he said.

During last year's inquest Coroner Bain said the motel owner had followed best practice with the use of his hot pools and commended the council for its geothermal pool testing and monitoring regime.

He said in his decision he recommended that the Rotorua District Council consider making compulsory in its control of thermal pools that the signage clearly displays a warning that the users of pools should not bathe alone.

The council's compliance solutions manager Neven Hill said the council would change the signs as recommended.

"We actually have a bylaw review which closes soon so there may be other actions".

Submissions to the Geothermal Bylaw review close today.

"We will add the coroner's recommendation to the bylaws and see what else comes out of the consultation. The bylaw review isn't complete yet."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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