One Died During Rainbow Family Gathering

One Died During Rainbow Family Gathering

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COALVILLE, Utah (AP) -- One person died during the annual Rainbow Family gathering, which drew about 9,000 people to a meadow on the north slope of the Uinta Mountains, about 70 miles east of Salt Lake City.

Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said one of the campers, an 18-year-old man from Salt Lake City, died over the weekend.

"Preliminary indications are it was a drug overdose," he said, but toxicology tests were still pending. The name has not yet been released.

Edmunds said, "Everything else went fairly well. It was pretty benign from our perspective."

Forest Service District Ranger Stephen Ryberg of the Evanston/Mountain View District said there were about 160 law enforcement incidents, ranging from illegal parking to sexual assaults.

Participants began gathering at the site weeks ago, with most arriving last week for a July 4 prayer circle, at which they prayed for peace.

Most left Sunday or Monday, but some were staying to clean up the site.

Ryberg said his officers were working with the Rainbow crews to make sure latrines were buried properly, "and there are a lot of incidents of human waste that were not taken care of that need to be found and taken care of."

The permit for the gathering also requires them to erase trails, remove litter, take apart fire rings and clean up in general.

"I've talked to other sites that have had them and that's happened, but it's taken a lot of effort," he said.

Most of the people leaving said it had been worth the trip.

"It's something I've heard about but haven't made it until now," said Kara Bracken of Salt Lake City. "There was a community of love, of abundance, the most down-to-earth, heartfelt people you ever met."

Marisa Black said she found her week at the gathering uplifting spiritually.

"It renewed my faith in humanity, which had been pretty shaken," she said. "People talk warfare being natural, but we evolved cooperating, and to see that demonstrated on a large scale, so selflessly -- it really renewed my faith."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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