No charges after sauna comp death

No criminal charges will be brought after the death of a competitor in the final of last year’s World Sauna Championships in Heinola, Finland. Prosecutors have concluded that there is no evidence of a crime, despite the Russian contestant receiving third-degree burns after spending just six minutes in the 117°C steam room.

District prosecutor Erkki Karvinen found no grounds to bring charges of negligence against the event’s organisers after discovering that medication may have played a part in the tragedy. A type of anaesthetic cream that is forbidden in sauna competitions was found in the Russian’s belongings.

The dead man also failed to supply organisers with a medical certificate before participating in the event. Health worries would be enough to disqualify a competitor, but the prosecutor decided that the missing document alone could not conclusively be linked to the man’s death.

The sauna itself was also found to be of sound condition with no electrical or technical defects. Karvinen concluded that as the Russian was experienced in the field of sauna competitions, having competed in the 2009 World Championships: he must have been aware of the dangers.

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