Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

5 Unusual Aquatic Deaths


1
Water Intoxication

Many water deaths involve large quantities surrounding or overtaking the person killed, but relatively small quantities of water can be fatal, too -- if you drink them. In 2007, Jennifer Strange, a young wife and mother of three took part in a radio station contest in California to win a new Nintendo gaming system for her family. The "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" competition had contestants drink as much water as possible without urinating, and the last person holding water would win. Sadly, as a handful of sports enthusiasts and marathon runners have found out over the years, drinking too much water is actually fatal. Water intoxication -- or overhydration -- leads to cerebral edema, a swelling in the brain that can be fatal.

During the water drinking contest, radio show listeners even called in to warn the show's hosts and producers about the risks of water intoxication, but the show and the competition went on. Strange won second place and went home only to die hours later. Her family later won a wrongful death lawsuit of $16.5 million [sources: Associated Press; Clarke and McHugh].


More to Explore