SEDONA, Ariz. - Two people died and an estimated 19 others were taken to hospitals after being overcome while sitting in a sauna-like sweat lodge at a Sedona retreat, authorities said Friday.
Detectives have learned that 64 people were inside the crudely constructed "sweatbox" when some of the participants became ill at at the 70-acre Angel Valley resort Thursday evening.
The facility nestled in the forest about 20 minutes from Sedona provides spiritual retreats. The resort is next to GOP Sen. John McCain's ranch.
Many people began feeling ill after about two hours in the sweat box, emerging lightheaded and weak, said Verde Valley Fire District Chief Jerry Doerksen.
A man, identified as James Ray, hosted this particular group and rented the facility from the owners of the Angel Valley retreat center. Some attendees told detectives they paid up to $9,000.00 for their stay and