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Home-Made Sauna Kills Monk and Followers

September 25, 1999
An 88-year-old Buddhist monk and three elderly women died and five people were hospitalized in northern Thailand after they spent hours in a home-made "herbal" sauna, police said Friday.
Hard boiled
Buddhist monks and their numerous followers take a respite from life in a hot tub.

The monk and his followers had created a makeshift sauna in a basement store room at Bungrasi Buddhist temple in Pichit province about 500 km (313 miles) north of Bangkok.

The monk had built the sauna after watching an old episode of Mr. Wizard in which he helped a young lady build a solar powered oven. The one thing the monk didn't take into effect was that we are now in a time of many solar flares. It's likely that a flare was sent off from the sun and hit his tinfoil covered piece of cardboard just right in order to superheat the water in the basement.

The group spent about two hours in the sauna Thursday before an exhausted man crawled out to ask for help, saying everyone inside had collapsed, a police spokesman told Reuters.

The victims were rushed to a nearby hospital where the monk and two women, aged 79 an 80, were pronounced dead on arrival and medium well done. A third woman died later in hospital. Five others remained in hospital, three of them in a serious condition.

``An autopsy found the victims died from inhalation of smoke and had suffocated in the heat of the room,'' the police spokesman said.

Police said they had detained a man for questioning over the tragedy but no charges had been brought besides the charge of retardation.

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