Melbourne man dies in sweat lodge ritual

A man has died and another is being treated in hospital after a native American purification ritual in South Australia’s far north.

Police said the two men collapsed at a campsite on a property about 100km from Leigh Creek early yesterday.

A Victorian, aged in his 20s, was pronounced dead on arrival at Leigh Creek Hospital after what was believed to be severe dehydration.

The second man was being treated for dehydration after being airlifted to hospital in Port Augusta.

They were among of a group of 11 people, all from Melbourne, who were taking part in a sweat lodge ritual, a North American ceremony involving water and hot rocks to align the body, mind and spirit.

The group were camped about 6km from the Yankaninna Station homestead and had been there since last Thursday.

They raised the alarm with the property manager, Paul Doran, who later said it was obvious one man was in serious trouble.

“I knew he was in shock,” Mr Doran told the Adelaide Advertiser.

“He didn’t respond to anyone or any voice or anything. He was breathing fast and his pupils were at a pinpoint.”

Mr Doran said he was unaware the group were on the property until they came for help and he did not know why they chose his station for the ceremony.

Other members of the group dismantled the campsite last night and told reporters at the scene they were not a cult but just a group of friends.

They said any understanding of geology would reveal why the site was sacred.

Detectives and crime scene investigators remained in the area yesterday and were preparing a report for the South Australian coroner.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
AAP, Australia
Nov. 4, 2004

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This post was last updated: Monday, November 30, -0001 at 12:00 AM, Central European Time (CET)