Dead Chch girl 'may have been huffing'

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Police say a 17-year-old girl who died at a park in Christchurch yesterday may have been "huffing" butane.

Detective Sergeant Craig Farrant said police were called to the park in upper Riccarton about 4.40pm.

Attempts to resuscitate the girl by members of the public and ambulance staff were unsuccessful.

"Initial inquires indicate that a small group of females were inhaling butane gas, commonly known as 'huffing', in the area prior to this incident," Mr Farrant said.

Police were not seeking anyone else over the death, which would be referred to the coroner.

A post-mortem examination was expected to take place today.

"While the cause of death has yet to be confirmed, the incident highlights the dangers of people sniffing butane or 'huffing' as it is known," Mr Farrant said.

The identity of the girl had not yet been released.

Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean is conducting an urgent review on huffing after two Mosgiel teenagers suffered critical injuries last month when an LPG cylinder they were believed to have been huffing from exploded.

Brendon McLeod, 17, and Jamie Jury, 18, were critically injured when a fireball was ignited in the lounge of a house and set their clothes on fire.

In announcing his review, Judge MacLean said he was surprised to discover there had been 30 huffing-related deaths in 11 years.

"When I started to have a look at it I thought, hang on, it is worse than I thought."

Many coronial findings had not been acted on, but "the truth of the matter is there are very few recommendations" that could work for such readily available products, he said.


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