1 dead, several sickened by spiked champagne at Germany bar, officials say

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Feb. 14 (UPI) — A man died and several others became ill in Germany over the weekend after they drank champagne that had been spiked with a contaminant, authorities said Monday.

Police in the Bavarian town of Weiden in der Oberpfalz said that a group of party-goers drank the champagne at a bar Saturday night, after which a 52-year-old man died and eight others between the ages of 33 and 52 were hospitalized.

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When the police and emergency services arrived at the restaurant, some of the injured were found lying on the floor. They were given medical care and taken to various hospitals in the area.

Chief public prosecutor Gerd Schafer told reporters that “a significant concentration” of the recreational drug ecstasy were found in the bottle from which all of those affected had drunk.

It remains still unclear how the drug got into the bottle, he said, adding that investigators have ruled out the possibility that the group had been intentionally targeted.

Rather, he said, it initially appeared more likely the incident is a case of negligent homicide.

Local media reports indicated police do not suspect that any of the guests poured the drug into the bottle — video of the party showed the group opening it together.

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Weiden in der Oberpfalz is a town of 40,000 residents in northeastern Bavaria.

Mayor Jens Meyer said he is “deeply affected and stunned” by the events and sent his condolences to the relatives of the dead man and wished the injured a speedy and full recovery.

“Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you,” he wrote to the victims, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.