Teen pulled unconscious from pool, laughing gas use suspected

Teen pulled unconscious from pool, laughing gas use suspected
An indoor pool at the Badhuis wellness centre in Antwerp, where the teen spent the day with two friends. Credit: Google Street View

A 19-year old has been hospitalised in a critical condition after being found unconscious in a swimming pool, with authorities seeking to determine whether the incident came from the teen's use of laughing gas.

The teen was found at the bottom of a swimming pool in a wellness centre in Antwerp, with several empty canisters of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, were found around the pool.

He is said to have gone to the centre accompanied with two others on Monday, who reportedly lost sight of him when they headed to the changing rooms toward the end of the day, HLN reports.

Police were the first to arrive at the scene when the teen was found by his two friends and the centre's manager, and he was resuscitated on the spot before being brought to the hospital in a critical condition, according to De Standaard.

A judicial expert has been appointed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident, with the public prosecutor's seeking to determine whether the teen's use of laughing gas was at fault.

The news comes weeks after a ban on the "improper" sale, use and possession of laughing gas canisters came into force in Antwerp at the end of November.

The use of the gas as a recreational drug has surged in Belgium in recent months, with officials across different cities and municipalities implementing stricter regulations or all-out bans, and with doctors in Flanders warning of the health impacts of regular use of the gas.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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