Mother, Daughter Die in Freak Sauna Accident

Police say the handle on the sauna broke
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2017 9:28 AM CDT
Mother, Daughter Die in Freak Sauna Accident
Stock photo shows the interior of a sauna.   (Getty Images/MyImages_Micha)

A broken door handle proved deadly for two women in the Czech Republic on Saturday. Police say a mother and daughter, ages 65 and 45, died after becoming trapped in their friend's sauna for roughly 90 minutes. A police rep who spoke about the freak accident—which the AFP reports happened near Jicin, to the northeast of Prague—says it appears the women were unable to exit the sauna after the handle broke, and their attempts to break the door's window were unsuccessful. Their friend found them on the floor after noting the time and deciding to check on them. While sauna deaths are rare, they do occur: A 2008 study published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences looked at sauna-related fatalities between 1990 and 2002 in Finland and found an annual death rate of less than two per 100,000 inhabitants.

The study found heat exposure was behind a quarter of the deaths. Saunas and Finland were under the microscope once again in 2010, when a finalist at the World Sauna Championships there collapsed and died after spending six minutes in a 230-degree Fahrenheit sauna. While such temperatures might seem uncommon outside of Finland, an organizer told the BBC at the time that "It is not so unusual" here. The competition was permanently ended due to Russian Vladimir Ladyzhensky's death. The temperature of the sauna the women were using in the Czech Republic hasn't been reported. (But there are some benefits to using saunas, too.)

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