Man choked to death in roach-eating contest

SUZETTE LABOY
Last updated 09:48 27/11/2012

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A US man choked to death after downing dozens of live roaches during a contest earlier this year in which the grand prize was a python, an autopsy released early today (NZ time) concluded.

Edward Archbold, 32, of West Palm Beach, Florida, died as a result of "asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents," according to the report released by the Broward County medical examiner's office. It said his airway was obstructed by the roach body parts, which caused him to not be able to breathe.

"There is a flap called the epiglottis that is supposed to stop objects from going into the lungs," medical examiner Craig T. Mallak said.

"Unfortunately, it doesn't always work. In the video you could see him trying to swallow and breathe at the same time. We can't do both simultaneously."

Lab tests for drugs came back negative. The death has been ruled an accident.

Archbold died after downing the bugs as well as worms in the October 6 contest at Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach, about 70 kilometres north of Miami.

Messages left with the store's owner and his attorney were not immediately returned.

Archbold became ill shortly after winning the contest and collapsed in front of the store. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

About 30 people ate the insects, but authorities said none of the other contestants became ill.

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- AP

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