Two other students, aged 19 and 20 are also receiving hospital treatment, although their condition is much less serious.
The "Reuzegom" student fraternity brings together students from Antwerp and the surrounding area that study at the Catholic University of Leuven. On Tuesday and Wednesday the fraternity organised an initiation for three new members. This resulted in all three new members being hospitalised with one of them in a critical condition. On Friday evening it was annouced that he had died.
In a press statement the Antwerp Judicial Authorities told VRT News "The new members had to carry out a number of tasks at a remote spot in a wooded area near to Vorselaar (Antwerp province). At around 9pm a 20-year-old man from Edegem become unwell. The organisers decided to take him to the Saint Joseph Hospital in Malle. As his condition had worsened it was decided that he should be transferred to Antwerp University Hospital. The two others also had issues and were taken to hospital. There are being treated, but were able to be questioned”.
One possibility is that the students’ having consumed fish oil caused salt levels in their blood to shoot up. A police surgeon is currently investigating what caused the students to become ill.
Leuven University is “shocked"
The Vice-Rector or the Catholic University of Leuven Chantal Vanaudenhove told journalists that “These practices are staggering. You can believe that it is possible that something like this can still go one today. As a university we are shocked, absolutely.
But what now? "First and foremost I want to hear what the organisation has to say and know all the facts. Disciplinary measures could be taken yes, and they could mean exclusion from the university. But I can’t yet make any pronouncements. I want to first speak to those responsible”.