Sweat Lodge Deaths Ruled Accidental
Prolonged heat exposure triggered tragedy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2010 3:24 AM CDT
Liz Neuman, 49, died of multiple system failure linked to prolonged heat exposure after a sweat lodge ceremony in Arizona.   (AP Photo/Neuman family photo)
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(Newser) – The deaths of 3 people in a sweat lodge ceremony have been ruled accidental by an Arizona coroner as the new age guru who arranged the ritual faces manslaughter charges. Two of the participants died of heat stroke the day of the ritual, while the third died of multiple system failure linked to prolonged heat exposure a week later.

Some 65 people participated in the ceremony that involved sitting in a dome heated with hot rocks and steam for up to 2 hours. Some 20 people reported feeling ill. James Arthur Ray has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges, arguing that he took health precautions, including hiring medical professionals to monitor participants.