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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 11:15 GMT
US water contest radio sacks 10
Water bottle
The contestants started on small bottles and worked up
A California radio station has dismissed 10 of its employees after a woman who had taken part in a water-drinking contest it held died.

The KDND 107.9 station in Sacramento sacked the hosts of its morning show and other members of staff.

The show had challenged listeners to drink as much water as they could to win a Nintendo Wii video game system.

One participant - Jennifer Strange - later died as a result of drinking too much water, initial tests showed.

Ms Strange, 28, said she wanted to win the game - "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" game - for her children.

A work colleague said Ms Strange had complained her head was hurting hours after the contest and was going home.

She was found dead on Friday at her house in Rancho Cordova.

The Sacramento County coroner later said preliminary autopsy findings suggested she had died of water intoxication.

The county's sheriff said that there did not appear to be grounds for a criminal investigation.

"It's not as if [Ms Strange] was somehow in their custody and they had a role to care for her," John McGinness is quoted as saying by the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

"Rather, it was an invitation to a contest that was clearly ill-advised. She was exercising her free will."

Health warning

Contestants were first given eight-ounce (225-millilitre) bottles to drink without going to the toilet. After eight rounds, contestants drank 16-ounce (0.5 litre) bottles.

Ms Strange may have drunk nearly two gallons (7.5 litres), witnesses said.

Contestant James Ybarra told the Associated Press news agency: "They told us if you don't feel like you can do this, don't put your health at risk."

"[Ms Strange] was telling me about her family and her three kids and how she was doing it for her kids," Mr Ybarra said.

One of Ms Strange's work colleagues, Laura Rios, said: "She said to one of our supervisors that she was on her way home and her head was hurting her real bad.

"She was crying and that was the last that anyone had heard from her."

Drinking too much water can eventually cause the brain to swell, stopping it regulating vital functions such as breathing, and causing death.

US woman dies after water contest
14 Jan 07 |  Americas
Why is too much water dangerous?
15 Jan 07 |  Magazine

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