UK & World News
British Teenager Dies After Tribal Drug Ritual
A British backpacker has died after taking a hallucinogenic drug during a tribal ritual in Colombia.
Henry Miller, 19, was in a remote rainforest area, near the town of Mocoa, with other tourists when he drank yage with a local tribe.
The psychedelic drink, also known as ayahuasca, is made from leaves and is used by native people in South America for healing and spiritual purposes.
Mr Miller took the drug on Sunday without any effects. He took it again on Tuesday and was found dead later.
Filip Goematre, owner of Casa del Rio hostel, where the teenager was staying, told Sky News: "Lots of people come to this area to take the yage drug, which is part of an indigenous ritual.
"But I am not a fan of it. I prefer people come here to enjoy the Amazon and look at the animals and nature.
"Henry came here last week and heard about the drug from other tourists and got motivated to do it.
"I'm not involved in the drug and do not promote it in anyway. But it's an indigenous ritual and involves drinking juice from a medicinal plant. One of the effects of it is to hallucinate.
"Henry stayed at the hostel for seven days. He did it (the drug) once on Sunday night, and on the Tuesday he was travelling on.
"But he changed his mind at the last minute and decided to do the ritual. There is a police investigation going on and an autopsy is being carried out on his body, but it looks like the drink.
"It's an intoxicant, and hundreds of people do it and a couple of times people die. It's not considered dangerous, but it can happen."
Mr Miller, from Bristol, travelled with a group of eight people to land belonging to a local shaman, according to the Daily Mail.
After taking the drug, he reportedly started "lashing out with his hands and feet" and then "made weird animal noises, pig sounds and at one point he tried to fly".
The shaman's family told the other tourists they would look after him, but when they woke up in the morning Mr Miller was not there, the paper quoted one of the group as saying.
Police arrived and showed them a picture of Mr Miller's body, which was said to have been found by a dirt road.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office told Sky News: "We are aware of the death of a British national on April 23 in Colombia. We are providing consular assistance to the family at this very difficult time."
Henry Miller's parents Elizabeth and David, and brother Freddie issued a statement to the Bristol Post, saying: "In the last 48 hours we received the exceptionally sad news that our son Henry has died whilst travelling in Colombia.
"We are being informed of the circumstances through the Foreign Office. He was in the remote Putumayo region.
"We understand that he took part in a local tribal ritual recommended by the hostel that he was staying at.
"The ritual involves a drink made from local plant infusions. We are awaiting further information from the foreign office but it is likely that a reaction to this drink was the cause."