9 Hospitalized In Mexico After Nitrogen Cloud Swallows Jagermeister's Pool Party [VIDEO]
A pool party in Mexico over the weekend turned tragic after nine partygoers had to be hospitalized, one of them in a coma, following a botched promotional stunt involving liquid nitrogen.
The Daily Mail reports that 21-year-old Jose Ignacio Lopez del Toro remains in a comatose state after organizers of the pool party event, a promotional party for German alcoholic beverage maker Jagermeister, poured four buckets of liquid nitrogen into the pool to create a smoky effect. The liquor company hosted the event, which hundreds of partygoers attended, in an effort to market the product in Mexico.
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Video footage from the party, which took place in Leon, a city in the Mexican state of Guanajuato about 245 miles northwest of Mexico City, shows men in orange jumpsuits adding barrels of liquid nitrogen to a packed pool. The liquid nitrogen formed a cloud of white, billowy smoke, which completely obscured the people in the water.
"To start the show, events staff emptied the contents of the cans into the pool where there were about 30 young people, pouring the liquid into the water, which apparently reacted with the water, causing a large gas cloud," one witness told journalists in Mexico.
Independent reports that, shortly after the white cloud formed, people began to pass out in the pool. Onlookers frantically began grabbing people from the water and pulling them to the edge. In video footage from the Jagermesiter pool party, people are heard shouting and screaming over the loud blare of party music. After a number of people are pulled to safety from the water, orange flotation rafts are seen bobbing around in the empty pool.
"They realized that I had fainted because they saw the [raft] floating alone in the pool," Yael Jimenez, one of the people rushed to the hospital after the incident at the Jagermeister party, told Milenio.
Paramedics rushed the victims to regional hospitals, where they were diagnosed with cardiovascular complications.
According to local news source Excelsior, officials initially believed that the liquid nitrogen reacted with the chlorine in the pool to create a toxic cloud of smoke. Eyewitnesses said that shortly after the liquid nitrogen was added to the pool, people in the pool began gasping for breath. However, nitrogen is typically found in an inert state; it tends to form a triple bond with itself, making it highly resistant to that kind of spontaneous chemical reaction. It's also normally completely harmless.
According to the blog Chem Bark, it wasn't that the liquid nitrogen reacted with chlorine to make a deadly cloud; it was that liquid nitrogen, when heated up very quickly, displaces all the oxygen around it. This would explain why witnesses say people were struggling for air and then passed out. Further, because nitrogen molecules (like all molecules) contract in space as they cool down, the sudden, rapid boil that occurred when cold nitrogen hit warm pool water explains the sudden appearance of an enveloping nitrogen cloud. Nitrogen would have expanded, displacing oxygen due to its heavier weight and saturating the party with nitrogen in high enough concentrations to choke partygoers.
"The fact that you are asphyxiating is masked by your ability to exhale carbon dioxide normally, so the burning sensation you experience when holding your breath or drowning is absent," Chem Bark reported. "Furthermore, the thick fog produced upon mixing the liquid nitrogen and water conceals any distress."
"We are aware of this incident in Leon, Mexico, which is currently being investigated by our headquarters in Germany," a spokesperson for Jagermeister told Standard Media.
He added: "Fortunately, all of those who required medical attention are out of danger and recovering."
Milenio reports that after the horrible mishap at the pool party in Leon, the city is preparing to amend its permit regulations for privately held parties.
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