Woman dies in cake-eating contest in Australia

Paramedics were unable to resuscitate her after she appeared to choke

Harry Cockburn
Monday 27 January 2020 10:50 GMT
Contestants at the Australia Day celebrations at the Beach House Hotel in Hervey Bay, Queensland, where one participant choked to death
Contestants at the Australia Day celebrations at the Beach House Hotel in Hervey Bay, Queensland, where one participant choked to death (Screenshot/9 News)

A woman has died after taking part in a cake-eating competition during Australia Day celebrations in Queensland.

The woman, aged 60, reportedly choked and had a seizure during the event at a hotel in the south east of the territory.

Hotel staff were quick to respond, giving the woman CPR and calling emergency services, according to 10 First News Queensland.

Paramedics were unable to resuscitate her, and she was taken to Hervey Bay hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Mobile phone footage of the event at the Beach House Hotel in Hervey Bay, broadcast by Australia’s 9 News, shows contestants speed-eating lamingtons – cubes of sponge cake covered with chocolate and dessicated coconut.

Glasses of water are next to contestants to help them wash down the cake, and crowds of people are cheering the competitors on.

Witnesses said the woman choked after accidentally inhaling the dessicated coconut during the contest.

“Sadly a lady died during the lamington eating competition,” one witness wrote on Facebook.

Traditional lamington cakes made for Australia Day (Getty)

“This lady shovelled the lamington into her mouth with no restraint … inhaled the coconut and arrested.

“The [hotel staff were] very quick to respond with CPR, and the ambulance rocked … working on her over half an hour, it didn’t look good.”

Another witness who apparently knew the woman, told newspaper the Courier Mail she had been filming the competition when she noticed something was wrong.

“I was filming and just as my friend finished I noticed she was dribbling so I rang triple-0 as she fell to the ground,” she said.

“I was talking to [the emergency services] until they arrived. The manager and security and a friend of mine worked on her until then.

“They put a sheet up around her and worked on her for at least another half an hour. They shocked her a few times and were still doing CPR as they took her out about 30 to 40 minutes later.”

A third witness named as Michelle Iffland, said the woman had been in good spirits just before the incident. “I'm so sad right now. One minute she was happy the next she was gone,” Ms Iffland said.

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