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Norway: Dozens hospitalized after underground rave

Rebecca Staudenmaier
August 30, 2020

Some 25 people were rushed to the hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning after a party in a Norwegian bunker. Emergency crews worked to quickly evacuate the revelers, with two officers also falling sick.

Norwegian rescuers at the scene of the underground party
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/G. Olsen

An underground rave in the Norwegian capital of Oslo took a dangerous turn early Sunday morning after numerous partygoers showed symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Some 25 people were rushed to the hospital, with five of them said to be in critical but not life-threatening condition, reported the daily Afterposten. Many of the patients are young, in their 20s and early 30s. 

"Fortunately, they are all improving. We can say that they are out of danger," chief physician Fridtjof Heyerdahl at Oslo University Hospital told the paper. 

Two of the patients are reportedly police officers who helped evacuate partygoers. 

Read more: Firefighters escort 300 people from swingers club

Party despite locked door?

Oslo police believe that at least 200 people attended the rave. On Twitter, authorities urged others who attended the party to seek medical attention if they experience headaches, nausea, dizziness or feel faint.  

Authorities believe that the poisoning was caused by portable generators that were used to provide music at the party, Norwegian public broadcaster NRK reported. 

Police sounded the alarm after finding a group of dizzy, incoherent and incapacitated young people near the location of the party. 

The partygoers are believed to have entered the underground bunker illegally to throw the party, bypassing the locked entrance by entering through a narrow opening. 

One man who attended the rave but left before authorities arrived told NRK that the air quality was so poor that he left several times to breathe fresh air. Although other parties had been held in the bunker this summer, this one far surpassed the others in the number of attendees and the number of generators, he said. 

Carbon monoxide detectors for hookah bars

Authorities alerted ahead of time 

Another woman told NRK that she alerted the police about the party ahead of time, worried about health and safety as the guest list on social media continue to grow— particularly during ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

"The warning was not taken as seriously as I had hoped," said the woman, who was not named by NRK. 

Oslo police said they'd received the tip, but are working to understand why it wasn't followed-up on. 

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that replaces oxygen in the blood. The gas is extremely dangerous and can be fatal if a person is exposed to high levels. After it is inhaled, the gas replaces oxygen in the blood and can continue to cause damage even after a person is back in fresh air. 

This report was written with material from the Deutsche Presse Agentur (dpa).