Two of the five individuals who died after attending Closeup’s “Forever Summer” rave party at the SM Mall of Asia’s open parking area over the weekend passed away due to a heart attack, a police report quoting the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said.
Inquirer.net reported that the cause of death for Lance Garcia, 36, and Bianca Fontejon, 18, was described as a “massive heart attack.”
“NBI Chemical Forensics Division Executive Officer Felicisima Francisco said Garcia and Fontejon suffered extreme high blood pressure that caused heart ruptures,” the news report continues. “She added that they are still completing their examination on submitted specimens to determine if the victims have taken illegal drugs, noting that there are indications in the victims’ blood.”
The other victims were 33-year-old American Eric Anthony Miller, 22-year-old Ariel Leal, and 18-year-old Ken Migawa. Fontejon and Miller were rushed to the Manila Doctors Hospital while Garcia, Leal and Migawa were brought to the San Juan de Dios Hospital, but they were all either declared dead on arrival or they died later on.
According to Interaksyon, the victims experienced heavy breathing and suddenly collapsed during the event, which reportedly had as many as 14,000 attendees.
The victims did not know each other and were with their respective groups during the 12-hour event that started on Saturday afternoon and ended on Sunday early morning.
Closeup's management posted a statement saying they were deeply saddened by the regrettable incident.
SM Supermalls President Annie Garcia also extended sympathies to the families of the victims and said they were “assisting the event organizers, Close Up Phil., its agencies, and the authorities in the investigation.”
Speculation on the possible cause of death has prompted Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon to ask Congress to probe the incident.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police Spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said they will wait for the findings of the toxicology report before releasing further information to the public on the cause of deaths.