An Aussie music festival which took place in Penrith over the weekend has ended with one man dead and eight people hospitalised.
Police have begun a coronial investigation into the death of 26-year-old Nigel Pauljevic, who was found unconscious during the Defqon.1 music festival on Saturday.
As Nine News reports, Pauljevic was found unconscious near the main stage of the popular dance event at about 11pm. His friends and security had tried to resuscitate him until paramedics arrived and he later died at Nepean Hospital, where he was one of 18 punters admitted.
Pauljevic, whom his former football coach described to The Daily Telegraph as “a big friendly fella”, was reportedly found with no pulse or identification and no one is aware of how long he had been lying unconscious.
Police are currently investigating the cause of the man’s death. “We made a number of arrests last night for drug supply,” a NSW Police spokesman said. “Every time you take those drugs you’re putting your own life at risk.”
“Festivals and dance parties are not the problem – it’s people making poor decisions that are the problem.” Event organisers Q-Dance have also released a statement, writing, “Everyone on our team is deeply shocked and affected by this tragic event.”
In a statement to The Daily Telegraph, Q-Dance said they are cooperating with police in their investigation. Mr Pauljevic’s death comes just two years after 23-year-old Victorian James Munro died after overdosing on a bad batch of drugs during the same event.
According to Nine News, police arrested 60 people at the festival, including 46 for drug offences. Four of those arrested on drug-related offences were for supply, two of whom were allegedly caught with 46 pills.
Officers also stopped a bus bound for the festival, allegedly discovering drugs including MDMA and cannabis on 14 of its 30 passengers. Meanwhile, a search warrant at a Hornsby home also uncovered white powder, believed to be cocaine, and other substances.
Police had issued an anti-drug warning prior to the festival. Dr Karen Fisher, of Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Clinical Director for Drug and Alcohol services, told the Hawkesbury Gazette there were “huge” risks involved.
“These psychoactive drugs are being made in clandestine operations by small producers,” Dr Fisher said. “They are substances that are produced to mimic, or claim to mimic, the effect of drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine or amphetamines.”