Vegas Hotel Pool 'Death Ray' Burns Tourists

Hotel design channels sun into a powerful beam, scorching swimmers.

ByABC News
September 27, 2010, 4:28 PM

Sept. 28, 2010— -- Forget sunscreen. At one Las Vegas pool, you might want to consider full-body armor to protect you from the sun's powerful rays.

Guests at the new Vdara hotel have been complaining that because of an architectural flaw on the glass skyscraper, the sun's rays are being magnified and reflected onto an area of the pool, causing severe burns. There have been reports that even plastic has melted from the heat.

Bill Pintas almost lost some hair from his experience with the hot spot.

After a recent swim in the pool just after noon, he went back to his lounge chair.

"I'm sitting there in the chair and all of the sudden my hair and the top of my head are burning," Pintas told ABC News. "I'm rubbing my head and it felt like a chemical burn. I couldn't imagine what it could be."

Pintas shifted around and suddenly the back of his legs were burning. He ran to a nearby umbrella but even that didn't provide cover, let alone a shadow.

"It was as bright as outside," said Pintas, a Chicago lawyer who owns a condo at the Vdara.

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"I used to live in Miami and I've sat in the sun in Las Vegas 100 times. I know what a hot sun feels like and this was not it," he added. "My first inclination was thinking: Jesus we've destroyed the ozone layer because I am burning."

Then Pintas learned he wasn't the first person to experience the magnified sunlight. At the bar, he explained the intense heat to some employees.

"They're kind of giggling and say: 'Yeah, we know. We call it the death ray,'" Pintas recalled.

They told him it even melts plastic cups. A plastic Vdara bag holding Pintas' newspaper was also burned through by the sun. The black letters bearing the name Vdara had entirely melted away.