September 24, 2022

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3 Americans Die in Mysterious Circumstances at Bahamas Resort

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Three Americans died under mysterious circumstances and another was hospitalized on Friday while they were staying at the Sandals Resort on Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas, the authorities said.

The Bahamian police went to the hotel after a staff member found one of the travelers, a man, unresponsive in his villa on Friday morning, the police said in a news release. Officials were then informed that two more people, a man and a woman, had been found unresponsive in another villa.

The man in the first villa was on the ground. In the second villa, the man was slumped against a wall in the bathroom, and the woman was on a bed. All three were pronounced dead by a doctor, the police said.

Chester Cooper, the tourism minister of the Bahamas, said on Facebook that the cause of the deaths was unknown but that foul play was not suspected. He added that a fourth American, a woman, had been airlifted to a hospital in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.

The country’s health minister, Dr. Michael Darville, told ABC News that the woman was in stable condition.

The couple in the second villa were found to have suffered convulsions and there were no signs of trauma, the police said. On Thursday night, the couple had complained of feeling ill, were treated at a local medical clinic and returned to the resort, the police said.

Dr. Darville told Eyewitness News Bahamas on Saturday that one or more people had shown signs of vomiting and nausea at the clinic.

The identities of the guests were not released. Mr. Cooper said on Facebook on Sunday that the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Tourism and officials from the U.S. Embassy were collaborating to formally identify the victims.

Chris Coucheron-Aamot, a guest at the Sandals resort, wrote on Facebook that the cause of the episode “may have been a fault with the a/c in the unit, causing a toxic coolant leak.” Mr. Coucheron-Aamot did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Sunday.

The man who was found dead in a villa and the hospitalized person were Vincent and Donnis Chiarella of Birmingham, Ala., their son Austin Chiarella told ABC News.

The Chiarellas were staying at the resort to celebrate their anniversary, Austin Chiarella said, adding that he learned details of the episode in a phone call with his mother on Saturday.

On Thursday night, Ms. Chiarella had become sick and visited a clinic but decided she felt fine upon discharge. Ms. Chiarella and her husband went to sleep in their villa.

“She woke up and my dad was laying there on the floor, and she couldn’t move,” Austin Chiarella told ABC. “Her legs and arms was swollen and she couldn’t move and she screamed to get someone to come in the door.”

Dr. Darville said that those investigating included environmental scientists to ensure there was not a public health issue but that it did not appear necessary to set up what he called a “makeshift facility” and “mini-hospital” because the episode appeared to be isolated.

He added that officials had “some ideas” of the underlying cause but did not provide further details, except that he was waiting for the results of toxicology and blood tests.

American and Bahamian officials did not respond to requests for comment.

In a statement, Sandals confirmed that three guests had died and said its staff had followed protocols by alerting medical professions and the local authorities as soon as possible. It did not describe the episode in further detail.

Sandals is based in the Caribbean and operates 16 resorts across the Caribbean, according to its website.



Alex Traub

2022-05-08 17:58:52

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