October 23rd, 2009
03:55 PM ET

Sweat lodge survivor: 'People were so disoriented'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/10/22/sweat.lodge.deaths/art.sweatlodge.knxv.jpg caption="Self-help author James Arthur Ray has hired investigators to investigate three deaths at an Arizona sweat lodge."]

A woman who was inside a "sweat lodge" at an Arizona retreat where three people died this month described people vomiting and screaming.

"Everybody was throwing up everywhere. There was spitting going on. ... People were so disoriented they were screaming at one point," said Beverly Bunn of Texas.

Three people died after spending time in the sweat lodge October 8 and nearly 20 others were injured. Two were pronounced dead shortly after they arrived at a local hospital and a third died October 17 after being hospitalized since the incident.

Bunn described a scene of horror and confusion inside the dome-like structure, which was covered with tarps and blankets and had hot rocks and water inside to create steam.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Sweat Lodge Deaths
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Joanne P.

    My husband is Native American, and this is a common practice for his tribe. We have talked about doing this for some time, and most likely will soon. This should not be considered a sweat lodge. No one dies when experiencing this within the constraints and culture of all Native American tribes.

    October 23, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  2. Belvia Hall

    Did these people have no way out of the lodge? Was there no exit had it been covered also? When they began to have symptoms why did they not leave? I don't understand with all of that confusion going on that someone didn't have a clue that something was wrong. And there should be alarms to signal if the all over atmosphere wasen't right. And this establishment should be made to install such devices before reopening.

    October 23, 2009 at 11:21 am |