Here's the answer to a funny problem I had to deal with while I was in Libya. I don't know how many days I had a family member throw a fit over me and my kids drinking water that was ice cold or had ice in it. I was told it could kill you and my logical brain said "I have never heard such a big bunch of baloney". Once I came back to the US I decided to talk to some people about the possibility of that actually occurring and in what circumstance could it actually happen. I remember even reading it in the Tripoli Post a article written by an Imam saying that it could cause instant death and people should refrain from it. I thought oh my even the Imams are crazy!
I posted the question to WebMD and here is what they said and some other information I read the same day may pose some greater health risks than drinking ice cold water.
WebMD said that unless the person was in a state of hypothermia (low body temperature) or severe dehydration they saw no reason that drinking cold water could harm a person. One interesting subject I did find was drinking too much distilled water was now found to be hazardous to your health! Seems as the all important mineral sodium is removed from the water and drinking large amounts can cause the brain to swell. This was found in athletes who drank bottled water in excess of actual water loss after exercise. It thinned the blood and caused the brain to swell. The study went on to say that drinking safe water full of the natural minerals was better and actually connected to longevity! Our bodies need many of the minerals that bottled water removes. As long as it is free of bacterias that can cause illness we are better off drinking our tap water. Here is one site for more info on this subject www.ionizers.org/distilled_water.html
I have searched the internet looking for articles relating to death by drinking cold water and yet to see any. If anyone has a link I would love to run it by these medical professionals. Seeing as most people of Middle Eastern countries are buried quite rapidly an autopsy is not likely to have been done and had the person just happened to be drinking cold water when it happened I can see how the link could be associated with the water. But I fear that it is not likely the culprit of someones demise. Finally as one doctor said, "You don't see too many resturaunts wheeling out dead bodies from drinking the cold water they were served". Myth busted. So to my fellow friends drink and enjoy!