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'Carbon monoxide poisoning' cause of deaths at Sandals Emerald Bay Resort

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

CARBON monoxide poisoning was found to be the cause of death of three American tourists who were found at Sandals in Exuma earlier this month, The Tribune was told.

Reports detailing the cause of deaths of husband and wife Michael and Robbie Phillips along with Vincent Paul Chiarella are expected to be released in the coming days.

This comes after Royal Bahamas Police Force Commissioner Paul Rolle told The Tribune yesterday that authorities received results from samples sent to a lab in Philadelphia.

The commissioner directed that those results be sent to the local pathologist

EARLIER STORY:

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

THE Royal Bahamas Police Force has received the results of samples that were sent abroad from three American tourists who were found dead at Sandals in Exuma, confirmed Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle yesterday.

The samples, extracted from each of the three victims, were sent to a lab in Philadelphia for analysis earlier this month.

Mr Rolle said he directed that those results be forwarded the local pathologist.

He said that when a cause of death is released to the police, he will first release to family members and then to the media.

The commissioner was unable to say whether relatives of the victims were granted permission to bring in a US pathologist to conduct another autopsy, saying this was outside of his remit.

 Earlier this month during a press conference Mr Rolle said samples were extracted from all of the persons “and our forensic scientists have collected those samples for examination.

 “We are actively engaging a lab in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to assist us with expediting the toxicological examinations of all of these samples,” he said at the time.

 “Once those examinations are done, our pathologist would be able to provide us with an official report as to the exact cause of death and help us to determine exactly what has happened.

“Our forensic scientists have also collected samples from both of the rooms and the properties of the Sandals hotel in Exuma to determine whether or not any contaminants are present.”

Married Maryville, TN, couple Michael and Robbie Phillips and Vincent Paul Chiarella of Florida were found dead in two separate villas at Sandals on May 6 after they were stricken by an unknown illness.

Donnis Chiarella, wife of Paul, was the lone survivor.

Officials say the two men and one woman died sometime between 11pm on May 5 when they, along with the lone survivor, visited the clinic seeking medical attention for nausea and vomiting, and around 8.30am to 9am the next morning, when they were found dead in two separate villas.

Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper previously told reporters that autopsies of the American victims had already been completed. However, he noted the findings have not been released.

Following this, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville said there were still some ongoing investigations at the resort, but that relatives wanted to bring in a pathologist.

“We also have the pathologist in (the) country who have done their job and samples were sent to a very reliable lab in the United States and a toxicology report was still outstanding.”

“There was requests by family members of the deceased to bring in pathologists from abroad to do another autopsy because you know to move bodies across water, they have to be embalmed and so that request was made. I do not know exactly how far it has gone but we are willing to assist anyone who wants to get to the bottom of their loved ones and so those requests are being entertained but I’m not sure where they are at this point.”

Comments

ohdrap4 1 month, 1 week ago

I watched an interview on one of MSM stations in the US earlier on.

A doctor said that the likely cause was carbon monoxide poisoning because when they felt unwell the dya before and went to the clinic, they replenished the oxygen and felt better.

That said, there us an urban legend in Nassau of people who "gas" home occupants to carry out home invasions.

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KapunkleUp 1 month, 1 week ago

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning? ACs do not produce CM. Only appliances like heaters do and of course car exhaust. So unless there's something not mentioned in the previous articles, this does not make any sense.

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Bobsyeruncle 1 month, 1 week ago

Correct, AC's don't produce CO. It's possible that some sort of diesel or petrol generator may have been positioned close to the air intake of the A/C system. Also, depends on whether the villas have central A/C or Splits.

And like Tribanon states below, there is no law in The Bahamas about having CO detectors/alarms installed, although one would think Sandals, being the size that it is, would insist on having CO alarms in all it's locations

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TalRussell 1 month, 1 week ago

There is no easy message for Sandals in Exuma to deliver to the deceased and hospitalized family members...except to provide timely, clear and *straight answers to the best of their ability, ― Yes?

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TimesUp 1 month, 1 week ago

Well, someone is about to get sued! The fact that the cause of death was unknown and that the hotel remained open would presumably showcase the operators negligence. Come to think of it, isn't there a government department that was responsible for shutting them down in the interests of public safety?

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TalRussell 1 month, 1 week ago

@Comrade TimesUp, would've thought a quick inquiry to the hotel's maintenance department should've been sufficient to shortlist all possible sources of carbon monoxide like boilers, furnaces, pool heaters. portable generators, diesel range pumps, *clothes dryers, ovens, ― Yes?

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ted4bz 1 month, 1 week ago

Nonsense. We all know what it is.

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Baha10 1 month, 1 week ago

Now both a Legal and PR Disaster … obvious negligence given the facts speak for themselves … followed by inexcusable delay in confirming what was suspected immediately upon discovery of dead bodies … made only worse by not immediately shutting down Resort for health reasons pending outcome of investigation … indeed, lucky there are not more dead given continued business as usual operation of Resort.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

It is weird that they had to wait weeks for a "common" carbon monoxide poisoning diagnosis. It makes us look extraordinarily incompetent and cave world, a designation much lower than 3rd world

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Bobsyeruncle 1 month, 1 week ago

Not weird at all. They have to run a full spectrum of tests during forensic pathology in order to rule out other potential causes. Some of these test by their very nature can take weeks to obtain results They can't just test for one thing and move on.

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rosiepi 1 month, 1 week ago

A review was posted on TripAdvisor 05/22/22 noting that a CM detector had was already installed, resting on the top of a mirror.

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tribanon 1 month, 1 week ago

§ 553.885 of Florida Statutes – Requires that every building for which a building permit is issued for new construction on or after July 1, 2008, and having a fossil-fuel-burning heater or appliance, a fireplace, or an attached garage shall have an approved operational carbon monoxide alarm installed within 10 feet of each room used for sleeping purposes.

Bahamas has no such law or regulation. And to think our ministry of tourism has for decades been touting how safe the Bahamas is for tourists. Both the Bahamas government and Sandals should be first in line to get slapped with major law suits, and rightfully so. If at all possible the law suits should be filed and heard in the U.S. given that our own court system is well known not to be free of government interference.

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bahamianson 1 month, 1 week ago

Who cares. Do we have heaters in our homes? How many houses have garages with cars? Most park their cars outside in the open. In Florida the speed limit is 65 miles an hour. Should we implement that also? What about carrying a firearm? If we are going to cherry pick certain laws because it is convenient , then by all means, let us do it.

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AnObserver 1 month, 1 week ago

Yes to all.

And while we don't have central heaters, we do have gas stoves, gas hot water heaters, and frequently run portable generators near (or in) our homes.

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tribanon 1 month, 1 week ago

You obviously believe the deadly carbon monoxide in this incident was magically emitted from 'nothing' and as such could never happen again. But I am sure there are many potential visitors to The Bahamas who would now feel much safer just knowing they would be staying in a hotel room or villa equipped with relatively inexpensive and easily maintained carbon monoxide detectors. These detectors are saving many lives in the more developed countries each year.

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DDK 1 month, 1 week ago

"Methylene chloride is a solvent found in paint and varnish strippers that are used to remove paint or varnish coatings from a variety of surfaces. It is also used in bathtub refinishing.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule banning the use of methylene chloride in all paint removers for consumer use, effective November 24, 2019."

???

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Bobsyeruncle 1 month, 1 week ago

Methylene chloride is gradually being phased out of paint strippers. In some US states it is impossible to get it already. The 'new' paint strippers use causitc soda which is nowhere near as good

FYI Methylene Chloride is also used in the dry cleaning business and also (in some cases) to remove caffeine from coffee.

With a boiling point less than 40 Celsius, it is very volatile and doesn't hang around for long. Not flammable either.

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TalRussell 1 month, 1 week ago

Unlike invisible COVID there's nothing you can buy from the camouflage store that can hide you has the very obvious to the eye Monkeypox virus. And there is no commercial assay to detect monkeypox virus ... there's *no social distance that's too far. Forget entering any work nor commercial establishment. ― Yes?

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Kofi 1 month, 1 week ago

Why are folk assuming that the poisoning occured on Emerald Bay property? There is nothing innthe public domain to suggest that that is where the poisoning occured.

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rosiepi 1 month, 1 week ago

Please review the info in the public domain: Sandals is undergoing a renovation, there have been numerous complaints about the conditions, notably the lack of reliable service from water heaters, A/C etc Persons from 2 different villas visited the clinic complaining of a number of symptoms inc shortness of breath and were treated with oxygen. Thereafter they felt well enough to return to the resort. Their symptoms are common with Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Obviously whomever saw them at the clinic is incompetent. And Sandals has not shut down the non renovated rooms/villas, nor has the MOH shut them down,

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Bonefishpete 1 month, 1 week ago

Heard back somebody mentioned propane water heaters? They use them? Faulty flue could cause it. Can't think of any thing else.

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bahamianson 1 month, 1 week ago

Listen, in America the McDonald's fries are made with 19 ingredients, in the UK the fries are.made with throw ingredients. In the United States, they use an ingredient to make bread and other sweets that is banned in the UK. Just because America does it, doesn't make it right. Just watch the propaganda news

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tribanon 1 month, 1 week ago

The UK government encourages and supports extensive use of carbon monoxide detectors; they've been doing so for many years now.

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