Pre­mier vows ac­tion as two die at festival

The West Australian - - NEWS -

NSW Pre­mier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian has vowed to shut down Syd­ney mu­sic festival De­fqon.1 af­ter a se­ries of sus­pected drug over­doses left two peo­ple dead and an­other three fight­ing for their lives.

A Vic­to­rian woman, 21, and a Syd­ney man, 23, died af­ter col­laps­ing at the event at Pen­rith on Satur­day.

Three peo­ple are crit­i­cally ill in hos­pi­tal while 700 of the 30,000 at­ten­dees were treated by med­i­cal staff, po­lice said.

“I’m ab­so­lutely aghast at what’s oc­curred. I don’t want any fam­ily to go through the tragedy that some fam­i­lies are wak­ing up to this morn­ing,” Ms Bere­jik­lian said yes­ter­day.

“This is an un­safe event and I’ll be do­ing ev­ery­thing I can to make sure it never hap­pens again.”

Po­lice said a woman, 26, was in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion while a 19-yearold man was in in­ten­sive care.

A New­cas­tle man is also crit­i­cally ill, while more than a dozen peo­ple were treated at Ne­pean hos­pi­tal for drug-re­lated is­sues. Tox­i­col­ogy re­ports are ex­pected within a week to un­cover ex­actly what drugs were taken by those who be­came ill.

Act­ing As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Al­lan Si­card said 180 po­lice were at the event and had worked with or­gan­is­ers to try to keep rev­ellers safe.

“What we can’t do is be in peo­ple’s heads, be in peo­ple’s de­ci­sion­mak­ing pro­cesses when they de­cide to take il­licit drugs,” he said.

Greens MP David Shoe­bridge said the po­lice pres­ence at the festival was ag­gres­sive and called for fes­ti­vals to in­tro­duce pill-test­ing and amnesty bins.

De­fqon.1 or­gan­is­ers, hav­ing dealt with mul­ti­ple deaths in the event’s 10-year his­tory, warned ticket holders the festival’s drug pol­icy was zero tol­er­ance.

Po­lice said 10 peo­ple were charged with drug sup­ply­ing of­fences, in­clud­ing two 17-year-old girls who al­legedly car­ried 120 cap­sules “in­ter­nally” into the venue.

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