September 16, 2018 / 2:27 AM / 10 days ago

Two dead after suspected drug overdose at Sydney music festival

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Two people died, a dozen more were hospitalized and hundreds others sought medical assistance after suspected drug overdoses at a music festival in Sydney, the police said.

A 23-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman died on Saturday after collapsing at the Defqon.1 festival, the police said. Two of the 13 hospitalized people remain in critical condition, while about 700 sought assistance on site.

The police has charged 10 people with drug supply offences, including two teenagers who allegedly carried 120 capsules to the festival, held at the Sydney International Regatta Center.

“I’m absolutely aghast at what has occurred, I don’t want any family to go through the tragedy that some families are waking up to this morning, it’s just horrible to think about,” the premier of the Australian state of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, said.

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

In 2013 and 2015, two men in their 20s died while attending the festival, both of suspected drug overdose.

The festival, an annual event held in Australia since 2009, has been organized by Q-Dance Australia, part of the Dutch event organizer Q-Dance.

On Sunday, the organizers said they were “deeply saddened” by the deaths.

“We are disappointed at the number of reported drug-related incidents, we have a zero-tolerance policy in relation to drug use at the festival,” Defqon.1 said in a statement published by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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