Three Americans died under mysterious circumstances and one other was hospitalized on Friday while they were staying on the Sandals Resort on Great Exuma Island within the Bahamas, the authorities said.
The Bahamian police went to the hotel after a staff member found certainly one of the travelers, a person, unresponsive in his villa on Friday morning, the police said in a news release. Officials were then informed that two more people, a person and a girl, had been found unresponsive in one other villa.
The person in the primary villa was on the bottom. Within the second villa, the person was slumped against a wall in the lavatory, and the lady was on a bed. All three were pronounced dead by a physician, the police said.
Chester Cooper, the tourism minister of the Bahamas, said on Facebook that the reason behind the deaths was unknown but that foul play was not suspected. A fourth American, a girl, was airlifted to a hospital in Florida, where she was in serious condition, Commissioner Paul A. Rolle of the Royal Bahamas Police Force said at a news conference on Monday.
The couple within the second villa were found to have suffered convulsions and there have been no signs of trauma, the police said. On Thursday night, the couple had complained of feeling unwell, were treated at a neighborhood medical clinic and returned to the resort, the police said.
Dr. Darville told Eyewitness News Bahamas on Saturday that a number of people had shown signs of vomiting and nausea on the clinic.
Commissioner Rolle said that samples had been taken from the villas “to find out whether or not any contaminants are present.” He said that the Bahamian authorities were working with a laboratory in Philadelphia to expedite toxicology tests as autopsies on the victims were being performed on Monday.
“We actually need to know what caused this without speculation,” Commissioner Rolle said. He added that the authorities were making arrangements with the victims’ families to repatriate their bodies to the USA.
Commissioner Paul Rolle identified the victims on Monday as Michael Phillips, 68, and Robbie Phillips, 65, of Tennessee, and Vincent Paul Chiarella, 64, of Florida. Mr. Chiarella’s wife, Donnis Chiarella, 65, survived and was being treated at a hospital in Florida, he said. The commissioner declined to discover the victims’ hometowns.
Chris Coucheron-Aamot, a guest on the Sandals resort, wrote on Facebook that the reason behind the episode “can have been a fault with the a/c within the unit, causing a toxic coolant leak.”
Mr. Coucheron-Aamot didn’t reply to a request for comment on Sunday. In statements, Sandals and the U.S. State Department each confirmed the three deaths but declined to comment on more detailed reports in regards to the case.
“We’re closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation into the reason behind death,” the department said.
Austin Chiarella, a son of Vincent and Donnis Chiarella, told ABC News that his parents had traveled to the Bahamas from their home in Birmingham, Ala., to rejoice their wedding anniversary. He said he learned details of the episode in a phone call together with his mother on Saturday.
On Thursday night, Ms. Chiarella had turn into sick and visited a clinic but decided she felt superb upon discharge. Ms. Chiarella and her husband went to sleep of their villa.
“She woke up and my dad was laying there on the ground, and she or he couldn’t move,” Austin Chiarella told ABC. “Her legs and arms was swollen and she or he couldn’t move and she or he screamed to get someone to are available in the door.”
Dr. Michael Darville, the Bahamian health minister, told ABC News on Sunday that those investigating included environmental scientists to make sure there was not a public health issue but that it didn’t appear essential to establish what he called a “makeshift facility” and “mini-hospital” since the episode seemed to be isolated.
He added that officials had “some ideas” of the underlying cause but didn’t provide further details, except that he was waiting for the outcomes of toxicology and blood tests.
In its statement, Sandals said its staff had followed protocols by alerting medical professionals and the local authorities as soon as possible. The corporate relies within the Caribbean and operates 16 resorts across the Caribbean, in line with its website.
Johnny Diaz contributed reporting.