Girl almost drowns in pool at College Pt. spa: NYPD

By Madina Toure

A 6-year-old girl nearly drowned in a pool at Spa Castle in College Point last week, the NYPD said.

At about 1:45 p.m. last Friday, the girl was found unconscious and unresponsive, submerged in a hot tub at the establishment at 131-10 11th Ave., according to a police spokeswoman.

She regained consciousness after CPR was administered and was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens in Flushing in stable condition, the spokeswoman said.

Stephanie Chon, Spa Castle’s chief operations officer, said the girl was pulled by a patron from a jet pool in a posted no swimming zone and that CPR was initiated by a certified staff member.

“Our thoughts are with her family at this time,” Chon said.

Chon said the incident is currently being investigated.

“Our team is well trained to follow safety protocols and patron safety precautions are clearly posted, including requirements for adult supervision of children,” she said. “We strive to do everything we can to make sure that our customers remain safe in our facilities.”

The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said it would conduct a facility inspection and a thorough review of Spa Castle’s policies and procedures. “If at any point in our investigation we find a health hazard at this facility, we will order closure of any water feature that does not meet safety standards,” a spokeswoman said.

The spa’s Manhattan location was closed on Jan. 13, 2015 for operating the facility without a permit, the Health Department said. But the business applied for a permit for the Manhattan facility, which was issued on June 11, 2015.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said he previously asked the mayor to put together a task force of all the necessary agencies to investigate spa and other related establishments, but never heard back.

“Despite following up, I never got an answer from the guy and that’s really disgraceful,” he said.

The mayor’s office could not be reached for comment.

College Point residents have complained about the spa because of its closeness to residential homes, the building’s height, its hours of operation and traffic concerns.

The property has had 10 complaints, according to the city Department of Buildings profile. The only open violation, issued in January 2015, concerns an illegal curb in front of the establishment. The site also has one open May 2012 DOB violation for failing to file a benchmarking report of energy use.

In December 2014, Forest Hills resident Hock Ma, 80, who was visiting the establishment with his family, died after he was discovered unconscious and unresponsive in a jacuzzi.

The Health Department’s investigation concluded that Ma, who had pre-existing medical conditions, suffered from cardiac arrest while spending close to an hour in a high temperature environments, exceeding the recommended time of 20 minutes for a healthy person.

He fell unconscious while lounging in a pool with other patrons, who did not recognize that the victim was in distress until he began to slump over, according to the Health Department.

The agency said the medical examiner’s office concluded that the cause of death was natural and that there was no evidence of submersion or drowning.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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