Ultra Music Festival-Goer Nearly Died After Drinking Water Laced With Antifreeze
For years, Ultra Music Festival avoided the deadly drug overdoses that had done in many other mega-events. This year, however, Riptide revealed 24 people were taken to the hospital during Ultra. One of them, a 20-year-old New Jersey native named Anthony Cassano, died from a suspected drug overdose.
But even that tragedy pales in comparison to the petrifying tale of how a 23-year-old went into a coma and nearly died after a stranger gave him water laced with antifreeze during Ultra.
"It was a horribly terrifying thing," says the man's mother, who spoke to Riptide on the condition that her and her son's names be withheld. "You don't think going to a concert is going to kill you, especially the water."
There are no police records to verify the woman's complaint (because he lived). However, medical records she provided to Riptide back-up her horror story.
A spokesperson for Ultra did not respond to a request for comment.
The woman and her husband were awoken around 1:45 a.m. Monday, March 18, by a call from a doctor at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He said their son was in a coma and near death.
"We threw everything into the car and drove" from out of state, the mom says. "It was either going to be a really short trip or a really long one."
When they arrived at Jackson, their son was unresponsive. He had a fever of 108 degrees, and his organs were shutting down. By Tuesday, doctors told the parents that their son needed liver and kidney transplants.
Physicians were baffled. But friends at his bedside said he had chugged what he thought was water from a jug offered by a stranger. One of the friends had taken just a sip from the jug and had burns on his tongue from the specious liquid.
"Antifreeze -- that's what they now think it was," says the mother. "Apparently it's what the old-time drunks used to get because it's so cheap."
Shortly after drinking the wacky water, the 23-year-old dropped to the ground near the entrance to Ultra. He lay there, convulsing, for barely a minute before paramedics spotted him and whisked him to the hospital.
After four days in a coma at Jackson, the young man finally woke up. That, his mother says, was actually the most terrifying part.