Several partygoers were hospitalized following a Jägermeister event in León, a city in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, over the weekend. Nearly 200 people were in attendance for the German product sponsored pool party.
During Saturday’s event, liquid nitrogen was added to the pool by party organizers in order to create a smoky effect. However, an unforeseen interaction between the liquid nitrogen and the chlorinated pool water resulted in thick toxic plumes – displacing the oxygen concentration in the air, reports Milenio.
Guests, who had been drinking as it was a liquor-sponsored event, gasped for air and fainted, asphyxiated by the noxious fumes. Several of the revelers passed out while cavorting in the pool.
Victims were pulled to safety and treated by paramedics. One young man, 21-year-old Jose Ignacio Lopez del Toro, remained unconscious and was taken to the hospital and placed in intensive care. He has since been in a comatose state. Eight others were also hospitalized and treated for cardiovascular ailments, according to Ninemsn, and have since been released.
Assistant Attorney General Manuel Angel Hernandez has launched a preliminary investigation to determine if charges will be filed in connection to the incident.
Reports allege the combination of chlorine and the liquid nitrogen caused the life-threatening reactivity, however nitrogen gas is relatively inert and wouldn’t likely react with anything present in the pool, like “chlorine” which is mostly NaOCl sodium hypochlorite, commonly found in bleach.
The danger is simply from nitrogen itself drawing away the surrounding oxygen as it evaporates, thus smothering out those immersed in the dense cloud – referred to as inert gas asphyxiation.
When humans breathe in pure nitrogen, helium, argon, sulfur hexafluoride, methane, or any other chemically inert gases, they exhale carbon dioxide without resupplying oxygen. Inert gases are generally free of odor and taste – thus difficult to detect. This can lead to asphyxiation – death from lack of oxygen, not from poison – without the painful and traumatic feeling of suffocation, or from side effects of poisonous interactions.
Chlorine is used in drinking water and swimming pool water to kill harmful bacteria. It is also as used as part of the sanitation process for industrial waste and sewage. Household chlorine bleach can release chlorine gas if it is mixed with certain other cleaning agents like ammonia. Chlorine gas only exists in neutral or acidic solutions, and is heavier than air. When chlorine gas comes into contact with the eyes, throat, and lungs, an acid is produced that can damage these sensitive tissues, and cause coughing, wheezing, and provoke vomiting.