'Iceman' Wim Hof Sued for $67 Million Following Teenager's Drowning
Wim Hof, popularly known as the 'Iceman', is facing a $67 million lawsuit in the United States following the drowning of a teenager who had applied Hof's breathing techniques. The 17-year-old drowned in her pool in August 2021.
The Tragic Incident
On August 10, 2022, Californian lawyer Raphael Metzger discovered his daughter, Madelyn Rose, lifeless in their swimming pool. Despite attempts to resuscitate her, she was pronounced dead. The autopsy revealed no signs of physical abnormalities or toxins in her system, concluding that Madelyn's death was due to accidental drowning.
Metzger decided to take legal action against Wim Hof and his company, Innerfire, accusing them of wrongful death. He alleges that his daughter had been researching Hof's exercises on her computer shortly before her death. These exercises were taught to her by Tammy, Metzger's ex-wife and Madelyn's mother, who is also held responsible for negligence.
The Wim Hof Method and its Risks
The Wim Hof Method involves a series of powerful inhalations, brief exhalations, and pauses in breathing after several repetitions. This allows the breath to be held for increasingly longer periods. Critics, however, warn that it can lead to hyperventilation and unconsciousness, which can be fatal when performed underwater. It is alleged that Madelyn Rose was unaware of the dangers of performing these exercises in water.
The Lawsuit and the Response
Raphael Metzger is seeking $67 million in damages and is requesting courts to require Hof to issue warnings on his website and promotional materials about the risks associated with the method, particularly the dangers of performing it in water.
Enahm Hof, Wim Hof's son and CEO of Innerfire, has dismissed the allegations as baseless. He asserts that the company has always warned against performing the breathing exercises before submerging in water. The company's website also features written and video warnings about the breathing techniques.
Enahm Hof views the lawsuit as an attempt to unjustly blame his father and the company for a terrible tragedy. He expressed his distress over Metzger using his daughter's death to sue his ex-wife and them.
This is not the first incident of drowning associated with Wim Hof's breathing exercises. Multiple drowning deaths in different countries were linked to the method in 2016 and 2017. The company maintains that they have extensively warned against performing the method underwater and have taken all possible precautions to inform users of the potential risks.