A young man from Vancouver Island attending Shambhala Music Festival died early Sunday morning of a suspected drug overdose.
According to a statement from organizers of the four-night music festival, the 23-year-old man collapsed in the food court at 5:20 a.m. Sunday morning.
“Several patrons in the area quickly informed first aid services. First responders rushed to the scene and at the time found him unconscious, non-responsive, but breathing,” the statement said.
The man was transported to the site medical centre where, according to the statement, he received emergency medical treatment from a doctor, registered nurse, paramedic and several first aid attendants until BC Ambulance arrived.
The ambulance transported the man to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail. But according to the statement, he suffered cardiac arrest on route to the hospital and was unable to be revived.
Nelson RCMP Staff Sgt. Dan Seibel said it was about 7 a.m. when the ambulance arrived at the hospital, where a doctor pronounced the man dead.
An RCMP press release cited drug use as the suspected cause.
The man had no identification on him when he arrived at hospital, but police were able to identify him as Mitchell Joseph Fleischacker.
Fleischacker’s next of kin in Sidney, BC, have been notified and the BC Coroners service is now investigating the cause of death.
The statement from Shambhala organizers said, “at this time our hearts and minds are with the family and friends of the deceased.”
Prior to this incident, Shambhala has had no deaths in its 15 year history. The festival attracts 10,000 people each year and has a reputation for drug use. Festival organizers incorporate harm reduction strategies into the planning of the event.