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Science Wednesday, June 19th 2013 at 12:05 pm

Liquid Nitrogen Pool Party Poisons Nine in Mexico, Leaves One Victim Comatose

With summer coming, it's a good idea to remember that pouring liquid nitrogen into a pool might look cool, but is ultimately a terrible idea.

Jaeger

For no doubt the first time ever, a bad decision was made at a pool party sponsored by Jagermeister. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. This bad call, though, went beyond the standard ill-starred hookup or barf-inducing round of Jager Bombs as organizers poured liquid nitrogen into the swimming pool. While this produced the desired ‘smoke on the water’ effect organizers were seeking, it also had an unintended consequence, creating a cloud of nitrogen gas that asphyxiated party goers and left several hospitalized, including a 21-year-old man who remains in a coma.

Once the nitrogen hit the water at the party in Leon, Mexico, it produced an awesome fog fit for any Jagermeister-sponsored pool party, mid-’90s rap video, or cheesy horror movie. Unfortunately, the rest of the event resembled nothing so much as the horror movie as people began passing out and slipping under the water. Jael Jimenez, a hostess at the event, told Milenio.com “They realized that I had fainted because they saw the tray floating alone in the pool, otherwise I might have drowned.”

According to chemistry blog ChemBark, what happened at the party was not a chemical reaction between chlorine in the pool and nitrogen as is being reported elsewhere. Nitrogen is pretty inert, and shouldn’t have a major reaction with anything in the pool. Instead, chemist Paul Bracher explains that the liquid nitrogen boiled off after being poured into the pool, expanding quickly and displacing the oxygen around the pool. That meant that pretty soon, everyone in the pool was attempting to breathe nitrogen instead of oxygen, which is not a thing that works, as demonstrated in this video.

It is a thing that results in passing out and needing hospitalization after your friends pull you out of the pool. Meanwhile, Mexican authorities are investigating the incident to decide if any criminal charges will be brought. At the very least, it seems like someone should be forced to take some remedial chemistry courses over this dangerous blunder.

(via Daily Mirror)

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