Child Dies After Rotorua Hot Pool Plunge – updated

An eight year old child, visiting New Zealand with his family, died this evening (NZ time) after sustaining severe, 100% burns when he fell into a hot pool at the Kuirau thermal parkland in urban Rotorua.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to the boy’s family, who are understandably devastated by his death. He was later named as eight year of Toromon Toromon.

The burning incident, which happened on Boxing Day, has only just been reported on by the New Zealand media. It has  been the topic of discussion on the Trademe forums, with one contributor saying

“this is not the first time in Rotorua (Kuirau Park) and won’t be the last unfortunately.
Why is it that internal balustrading in our homes are by law meant to be climb-proof, yet fencing around tourist places are very much climbable.

Cave Creek’s enquiry into viewing platforms around NZ resulted in a big fixing up exercise. Let’s hope this will happen now as well.

Kids will be kids. And parents can be distracted or have given warnings.”

Another thinks that Tourism New Zealand has some responsibility in this matter

“I do feel that Tourism NZ has a responsibility towards its visitors, especially since SO many have already been burned or killed in those boilings wells.”

A discussion thread on the forum has also raised the issue about the adequacy of fencing and signage at Kuirau park, which is open freely to the public.

It is thought that the child’s family do not speak English and may have been unable to understand the signage at the public park, or realise how hot the pools are. There are many mud and hot pools and in New Zealand where bathing is permitted.

It is unclear if a supervising adult was with him in the parklands at the time of his accident.

Toromon is thought to have been rescued by an older sibling but it is unclear how he was pulled out of the pool, or back over any fence he may have climbed. At later report in the Dominion Post said that the pool was one of the smaller ones, near to Rotorua Hospital.

News of the incident has reached the international media see “Boy, 8, dies with ‘skin falling from his body’ after jumping into boiling hot thermal spring”  Daily Mail, UK which attracted readers comments, such as

– Tim, Cheshire, 30/12/2010 23:26

Again?! I remember reading of a similar incident in the same area a couple of years ago and managed to find the report on the Web: “A four-year-old boy is in Rotorua Hospital after badly burning his feet in natural hot springs ” Sept 07. (Ed. Link to this story HERE)
That fence is plainly not enough – how about regular warning signs for boiling water & mud and not to enter at all?!
Completely avoidable tragedy – and no doubt the brother is also burned that dragged the latest victim out.

– HappyHarry, Newcastle, 30/12/2010 23:32

Poor soul, rest in peace little man.
The recreation manager sounds like a fool:
He doesn’t know what happened yet is accusing the boy of scaling the fence. He should keep his mouth shut until he knows the facts, and if a child can scale a fence, then the fence, and warning signs, aren’t good enough, idiot.

– RLH, Sydney Australia, 30/12/2010 22:33

We have been there as we used to live in NZ. The local Maori people cook corn cobs in that water – it’s that hot.
Perhaps the authorities there will now put measures in place ensuring that young children are properly supervised. This is an absolute tragedy and should never have happened. My heart goes out to the family concerned.

3 thoughts on “Child Dies After Rotorua Hot Pool Plunge – updated

  1. It seems incredible that nobody seems able to comprehend that kids will be kids, and that accidents happen – as terrible as it was, we never needed to go on a witch-hunt, cast blame, or think that somehow Tourism NZ or the park had ‘failed.’ 1 death out of 3 million visitors can’t be called a failure.

    If only we had the same outrage for parents who smoke in front of their children; far more deadly and yet we just shrug our shoulders at it.

    • This incident had nothing to do with Tourism NZ. This is a municipal park owned by the local council with playgrounds and swathes of grass for kids to play on. Is it asking too much for the council to erect some decent fences around pools of boiling mud?

      The same council would require local householders to erect fencing around their swimming pools but it can’t (afford) do the same?


      • Other tourists have fallen into these hot pools before, This is not in any way a first. How many people have to be mud-baked to death, dying these horrible unnecessary deaths, before they put some fences around these areas? Too much money, can’t bother to spend? Ruins the “view” and attracts fewer moneyed tourists? Arseholes.

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