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Beer drinking king dies in competition tragedy

Published: 19 Jul 2013 11:46 GMT+02:00

Shortly after winning the beer drinking prize at a festival in Spain's Murcia region, Joaquín Alcaraz Gracia began to vomit.

Before that "he was fine", explained Antonio Alcaraz told Spanish newspaper Hoy.

"He had drunk six litres of beer, and when he won he lifted the trophy.

"Then he just started to vomit without stopping and he never spoke again," Alcaraz said. 

It was a tragic end to the beer drinking competition in Murcia's Gea y Truyols district.

Rules of the competitive booze-up are straightforward. Contestants have to down as many litre-glasses of beer as they can in 20 minutes.

"But it seems Joaquín's body said enough was enough," said witness Santiago García of the man emergency officials later described as "obese".

"He started to vomit in his chair. I was one of the people who held him upright," said the man.

"He vomited a lot but I sat with him for ten minutes, and he was sleeping and snoring away," municipality vice president Pedro Rodríguez told Hoy newspaper.

Sadly, Gracia wasn't sleeping. By the time emergency officials turned up at the scene, he was in cardiac arrest.

"When he arrived in the emergency unit, his vitals signs were very weak," said workers at the local hospital he was taken to.

He died shortly afterwards.

Local mayor José Manuel Gracia told Hoy newspaper the cause of the beer drinking king's death was not yet clear.

The official defended the town's beer festival saying it had a long tradition.

But he did say that further festivities have been suspended. Local authorities have also called for a three-day official period of mourning. 

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

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