Just when you thought the bush was safe......

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 05, 2007 at 16:32
ThreadID: 46317 Views:2459 Replies:4 FollowUps:1
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PARTICIPANTS in a ritualistic ceremony danced, chanted and played drums while one of their friends lay dying from heat exhaustion, an inquest has heard.

Deputy State Coroner Anthony Schapel today was told the group believed Rowan Douglas Cooke was "astral-travelling" after being exposed to extreme heat inside a North American Indian-style "steam lodge".

Mr Cooke, 37, of Melbourne, spent several hours unconscious at a campsite 325km north of Port Augusta, before two men went to a nearby homestead for help.

He had travelled with 10 other Victorians to the Gammon Ranges in late October 2004 on a "Vision Quest" led by a "new age healer", David Jarvis, Mr Schapel heard.

Amty Davis, counsel assisting, said the trip involved camping on a creekbed, where earth altars were erected near a "steam lodge" built from pine poles, silver insulation and blankets.

Members of the group took turns to sit inside the sealed, dome-like structure while water was poured over heated volcanic rocks to create steam.

They would then leave the campsite and sit in circles on their own for 24 hours, without food, before returning for further "cleansing" sessions in the "steam lodge".

Ms Davis said Mr Cooke and two other people, Maureen Collier and Adrian Asfar, went into the "steam lodge" late on Tuesday, November 2, because they wanted to participate in a "pipe ceremony".

The trio had sat inside in the structure for about 20 minutes when Ms Collier shouted she wanted to be let out because she was in difficulty.

Other members of the group then found Mr Cooke and Mr Asfar unconscious inside the "steam lodge" and dragged them outside, where six blankets were put over Mr Cooke.

Ms Davis said while both men were still breathing, no attempts were made to revive them because the group believed they were having "out of body" experiences.

"It was considered by some of the campers that the men might have been astral-travelling, that their conscious selves had left their bodies and that they were deep in a meditative state," she said.

"Given that, it was decided that the group should undertake activities to call them back to their bodies."

Ms Davis said this involved chanting, playing drums and singing.

It was not until several hours later, at daybreak, that two members of the group realised Mr Cooke was critically ill and drove to a nearby homestead for help before returning with a station manager, Paul Doran, who tried to revive Mr Cooke.

Mr Doran called for a volunteer ambulance crew to be sent from Leigh Creek, 75km away, to treat Mr Cooke for severe dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Attempts to resuscitate him at the campsite failed and he was taken to the Leigh Creek Hospital, where he died later that morning.
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Reply By: Gramps (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2007 at 16:35

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2007 at 16:35
Loonies abound
AnswerID: 244931

Reply By: Footloose - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2007 at 18:01

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2007 at 18:01
This was covered in post 46315
AnswerID: 244961

Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2007 at 19:23

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2007 at 19:23
A similar thing happened to a couple of communications technicians south of Darwin some years ago.

After doing a job on a station they went to a well known hot spring. There they consumed multiple beers. One blokle lay down for a sleep while the other one decided to get into the hot spring. Now we all know that alcohol dehydrates your system...and so does extreme heat(or cold). Fella in the spring lost consciousness. A while later his mate woke up to find the bloke in the spring, dead.
AnswerID: 244981

Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2007 at 22:52

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2007 at 22:52
I call my sleeping bag a steam lodge...I better watch out, especially for dutch ovens
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AnswerID: 245027

Follow Up By: Willem - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 06:52

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 06:52
Just as long as you do not put a bun in the 'dutch oven' whilst in your steam lodge.....hahahahaha
FollowupID: 506141

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