Page last updated at 02:20 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Payout over water-drinking death

Water bottle
Jennifer Strange is believed to have drunk nearly two gallons of water

The family of a US woman who drank so much water in a contest run by a radio station that she died has received $16m (£9.7m) in compensation.

A California court found Sacramento radio station KDND-FM and its owner liable for the death in January 2007 of mother-of-three Jennifer Strange, 28.

She had taken part in a contest to see who could drink the most without going to the toilet, to win a Nintendo Wii.

She lost, and a few hours later died of acute water intoxication.

Water intoxication can occur when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is altered by a rapid intake of water.

Employees sacked

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

In the competition - "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" - contestants were given 225-ml bottles to drink every 15 minutes without going to the toilet.

After eight rounds, contestants drank half-litre bottles.

Ms Strange is believed to have drunk nearly two gallons (7.5 litres) in the hope of winning the games console for her children.

During the trial, KDND-FM and its owner, Entercom, argued that Ms Strange should have known the contest might be dangerous.

The organisers did not face criminal charges, but 10 employees of the radio station were sacked.

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