A young salon manager was discovered dead in a Nevada cryotherapy chamber last week, raising questions about the safety of the trendy treatment that exposes clients' bodies to minus 240 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures for brief periods.
Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, 24, was reportedly alone while using one of the two types of machines at Rejuvenice Cryotherapy in Henderson, where she was working a night shift on Oct. 19, when something went wrong.
Her reportedly frozen body was discovered the following day when her co-workers arrived to open the facility.
Industry insiders say the machines--touted to provide therapeutic, anti-aging, and other restorative benefits--are perfectly safe when used properly.
But the Hawaii native's family say Ake-Salvacion knew exactly how to safely operate the machine.
"Something went wrong," her uncle, Albert Ake, told the New York Times. “What she told me is that there is nothing dangerous about doing this. That the only thing that could happen is you’re there a little too long and you get frost nip on your fingers.”
Mr. Ake said his niece was found "rock-hard solid" according to the local coroner.
But instead of pointing the finger at operator error--and, thus, at his niece's potential mistake--Ake told INSIDE EDITION that people should be asking how the process or cryo device itself was somehow faulty.
"It doesn't matter if she stayed in there for three minutes, one hour...or 48 hours," Ake maintained. "She was dead in seconds, she was dead in seconds. So, the question we need to ask is: What could have caused that?"
On Tuesday afternoon, authorities released the harrowing 911 call made by Chelsea's co-worker after she opened the store for the day and discovered the horrifying scene.
"Oh my God! Oh my God!" the co-worker screamed. "She's f***ing dead! She put herself in the chamber and she passed out."
Rejuvenice has two types of cryotherapy machines, according to their website. The "cryochamber" requires a protective mask, gloves, socks, underwear and other clothing. The "cryosauna" requires no protection on the head, which remains outside the machine during use.
Mr. Ake told the Las Vegas Review-Journal his niece had been using the cryosauna.
The exact cause of Ake-Salvacion's death has not been determined. However, medical examiners are trying to determine what gases she might have inhaled before her death as well as into whether she was able to keep her head above the chamber during the session, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.
In a prepared statement on Monday, Rejuvenice suggested that--while employees routinely used the machines--Ake-Salvacion may have been going against policy by using the cryosauna while she was alone.
"All Rejuvenice employees undergo very strict and rigorous training, our cryochambers are never locked, and guests and employees are always supervised during the entirety of the treatment to ensure their safety," the company said.
Ake-Salvacion's remains were scheduled to be returned to her native state, where a funeral was scheduled for Thursday in Honolulu.