A twenty-eight year old Sacramento mother of three has died of water intoxication after taking part in a local radio competition to win a Wii console.
Jennifer Strange was found dead on Friday at her home after taking part in a contest named “Hold your wee for a Wii” at the studios of radio station KDND 107.9. The competition involved drinking large quantities of water, with the last person to go to the toilet winning a Wii console – currently out of stock in most of North America.
An Associated Press interview with another contestant, named James Ybarra, claimed that contestants were initially given eight ounce bottles of water to drink every fifteen minutes, with larger bottles being used once contestants began to drop out. According to Ybarra, “They told us if you don't feel like you can do this, don't put your health at risk." He described the victim as “a nice lady” and that “she was telling me about her family and her three kids and how she was doing it for her kids."
According to Wikipedia's definition of the condition, water intoxication (also known as hyperhydration or water poisoning) is a potentially fatal disturbance in brain function that results when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is upset by a rapid intake of water. It is unclear how serious a danger to the contestant’s health KDND knew the competition to be at the time.
John Geary, vice president and marketing manager for Entercom Sacramento, the station's owner, claimed to the AP that station personnel were “stunned” when they heard of Strange's death. "We are awaiting information that will help explain how this tragic event occurred," he said. The incident has already been widely reported by mass media outlets around the world.
[UPDATE - 4.34pm PST, 01/15/07 - Wikipedia reference to water intoxication now correctly credited - our apologies.]