Florida man dies after roach-eating contest

By David Ferguson
Tuesday, October 9, 2012 9:29 EDT
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Cockroach via shutterstock
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A 32-year-old man died suddenly after entering a roach and worm-eating contest in Deerfield Beach, Florida. According to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel, Edward Archbold of West Palm Beach collapsed outside the reptile shop that held the contest after he began to vomit uncontrollably. An exact cause of death has yet to be determined.

Archbold was vying to win a female ivory ball python from the Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach. Witnesses described him to the Sun-Sentinel as being “the life of the party” as he stuffed handfulls of bugs into his mouth and ate them. He was competing against around 30 other contestants.

Store owner Ben Siegel, who organized the contest, said that the roaches and worms the store used were safe.

“They’re all captive bred bugs. They’re bred in sterile conditions,” he said. “They’re not bugs we go catch. They’re bred for exotic pet feed and they’re completely safe.”

Siegel called 911 when Archbold collapsed outside his store. Paramedics took Archbold to Broward Health North Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 11:40 p.m. on Friday.

According to Siegel, none of the other contestants showed any sign of illness. His body has been remanded to the Broward County Medical Examiner’s office, where an autopsy will determine the actual cause of death.

Luke Lirot, Siegel’s attorney, said in a statement, “All participants in the contest were entirely aware of what they were doing and that they signed thorough waivers accepting responsibility for their participation in this unique and unorthodox contest.”

Siegel said that no participants who had been taking drugs or drinking were allowed to compete in the contest, and that employees of his store had eaten bugs before “on bets and dares” with no ill effects.

Archbold, he said, “was a very, very likable guy and everybody here was sad to hear what happened and we’re very sympathetic to the family and we’re sad we won’t get to know him better.”

He called Archbold’s death “an unfortunate accident.”

Watch video from the contest, embedded below:


[image via Shutterstock]

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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