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Shambhala death confirmed as drug overdose

Shambhala routinely draws 10,000 people each year to revel along the Salmo River. In 2012, it recorded its first fatality. - Megan Cole photo
Shambhala routinely draws 10,000 people each year to revel along the Salmo River. In 2012, it recorded its first fatality.
— image credit: Megan Cole photo

The BC Coroners Service confirms a young Sidney man rushed to hospital during last year’s Shambhala Music Festival overdosed on a drug cocktail.

The coroner’s report, dated November 13 but only released Friday, says Mitchell Joseph Fleischacker, 23, died from pulmonary failure as a result of “illicit and prescription drug toxicity.”

His death was classified as accidental, with no evidence of suicide or foul play. The report did not make any recommendations.

According to the report, Fleischacker was attending the festival near Salmo with two friends, who last saw him at about 9 p.m. on August 11 in their tent, when he told them he had some cocaine.

At about 6 a.m. the following morning, another festival-goer found him unresponsive on a chair in the food court area. Medical staff moved him to a first aid station and an ambulance was called. Fleschacker was taken to the regional hospital in Trail, but en route his pulse stopped and attempts to revive him failed.

He was pronounced dead by the emergency room doctor around 6:45 a.m.

A toxicology exam found morphine and diazepam in his blood, although it’s unknown if he had a prescription for either. The exam also detected cocaine, MDMA, and GHB.

“The combined effects of these drugs led to pulmonary failure resulting in death,” the report said. “The source of [the drugs] is unknown. His ingestion of these medications was not witnessed.”

Fleischacker’s death was the first in Shambhala’s 15-year history. He grew up in Stettler, Alberta and worked at a sheet metal company in Victoria.

He was in trouble with the law a few years ago for drug possession and underwent treatment.

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