The 'black snake' experiment which sent 11 Sydney students to hospital

More details have emerged after a school science experiment went horribly wrong injuring 11 children and one teacher on Sydney’s Northern Beaches on Monday.

The Year 5 class at Manly West Public School was reportedly taking part in an experiment known as the ‘black snake’ on Monday. It involves bicarb soda and sugar being set alight to create a chemical reaction that looks like a snake coming out of the sand, Seven News reported.

The students, who are about 10, were outside at the time and with winds of up to 85 kilometres an hour, the chemicals were blown into the air, burning some children.

Police at the scene at Manly West Public School.
SafeWork NSW and NSW Police are investigating after a science experiment explosion at Manly West Public School in Sydney, Monday. Source: AAP

Paramedics, including road crews and a specialist medical team on board the CareFlight helicopter, were called to the school on Griffin Street, Balgowlah at about 1pm.

They treated 11 students and the teacher at the scene for burns before rushing them to various hospitals around Sydney. They were all in a stable condition. The most seriously injured was a girl who was flown to Westmead Childrens’ Hospital with multiple burns to her body.

Two students still in hospital

On Tuesday morning, NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell confirmed two students remained in hospital.

“Today we are thinking about the students who have been injured, we’re wishing them a speedy recovery and we will make sure that we’ve got supports in place at the school including extra counselling for everybody there today,” she told Channel Seven’s Sunrise.

Police van at Manly West Public School.
It's believed strong winds caused the chemicals to pick up. Source: AAP

“We want kids to learn about science and be curious in what they are learning,” she continued, adding that the department has “strict measures” in place to manage school experiments. “It was just extraordinary what happened yesterday, very upsetting circumstances.”

An investigation is now underway involving police and SafeWork. Ms Mitchell says the outcome of that will “inform anything further that we might need to do in this space.”

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