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Electric shock did cause Hanson's collapse

29 June 2007

An electric shock was the cause of champion Australian swimmer Brooke Hanson's collapse at a pool and spa exhibition, Victoria's electricity safety watchdog said.

The 29-year-old dual Olympic medallist keeled over after stepping out of a demonstration spa pool at the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Victoria (SPASA) industry show at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on June 17.

Hanson had been taking part in a demonstration for long-time sponsors Endless Spas.

The Olympic swimmer spent several hours undergoing tests at Melbourne's The Alfred hospital before being released. Her sister Jade also suffered an electric shock.

Ken Gardner, director of energy safety at Energy Safe Victoria (ESV), said a temporary electrical installation was the probable cause of electric shocks.

"Although we have further interviews to conduct ... we are of the opinion that one of the temporary electrical leads in use at the spa display did not have a proper earth connection and this could have caused the fault," Mr Gardner said.

"As a result of the fault, some 15 volts AC of electricity would have been injected into the water."

ESV spokesman David Guthrie-Jones explained the relatively low voltage would have been exacerbated by a number of additional factors, resulting in the electric shock.

"Fifteen volts alternating current might sound quite low but Ms Hanson had been in the spa pool water for a long time," Mr Guthrie-Jones said.

"That, coupled with the fact that the water was salty and ionised being pushed through a water jet pressure system, all combined would have had a more serious effect."

In a statement, Hanson said she was "relieved and satisfied" with the findings and grateful for the support of friends, family and sponsors including Endless Spas since the accident.

"The hundreds of get well cards, emails, phone calls and text messages from family, friends and supporters, members of the media, everyone in the Swimming Australia community and most importantly the public support has been overwhelming," she said.

Hanson said she only realised the extent of her injuries from her fall when she returned to light training at the pool on Monday.

"I sustained injuries to my left shoulder and neck, leaving the muscles and joints severely inflamed, requiring regular physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture and daily icing," she said.

"I'm putting all my energy into the rehabilitation of my injuries so I can prepare for my return to racing at the Telstra Australian Short Course Championships in Melbourne in August.

"But my main priority now is to get my health back to 100 per cent."


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