2 dead, 19 injured in sauna at Angel Valley Resort

A man and a woman, only described by police as “middle aged,” have died during a treatment at an Arizona resort.

Sixty-four people were in the outdoor “sweatbox,” a sauna-like tent, for around two hours when they reportedly were “overcome” and came filtering out, complaining of dizziness and lightheadedness. 19 people were transported to hospitals via ambulance and helicopter, and addition to the two who died, three are listed in critical condition.

The Angel Valley Resort was the site of a “Spiritual Warrior Retreat” hosted by motivational speaker James Arthur Ray. Guests reportedly paid up to $9,000 for the event, of which the treatment was a part. Police say that initial tests have indicated an absence of carbon monoxide and other contaminants, but that further testing is needed to determine what caused the incident. Police are investigating how the people may have become ill, but caution that such treatments can be dangerous, particularly combined with fasting. Yavapai County sherriff’s spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn told press:

“There are a lot of issues that may have led up to these injuries and deaths. It’s not something you would normally see at one of the resorts there, and it is unfortunate regardless of the cause.”