The three Americans who fell ill and died while at a Sandals resort in the Bahamas had been treated for symptoms at a hospital the night before, Bahamas police said Monday.
Paul Rolle, Commissioner of Police, on Monday identified the two couples who became sick last week at Emerald Bay Sandals Resort and said they were from Florida and Tennessee.
“They were all treated at different times, and they ate at different places,” Rolle said at a press conference. “We are checking all of that and hopefully we will be able to determine whether it was some food or something else that caused it.”
Vincent Paul Chiarella, 64, of Florida, and Michael Phillips, 68, and Robbie Phillips, 65, of Tennessee, were identified as the Americans who died. Chiarella’s wife was hospitalized in the Bahamas and later airlifted to Florida hospital in serious condition, Rolle said.
Rolle said all four Americans went to a doctor after complaining of feeling ill the night before their bodies were discovered on Friday morning. Samples collected from the bodies, the rooms where they were staying and the nearby area have been sent to a Philadelphia lab to examined, Rolle said. Results were expected within a week.
Rolle said he would not speculate on the cause of their deaths as police and health officials continue their investigation. Police have said they do not suspect foul play in the deaths or in the woman’s hospitalization.
Meanwhile on Sunday, U.S. State Department said it was “closely monitoring” the probe.
Here’s what we know.
‘Heartbroken’ son says parents were celebrating their anniversary
Austin Chiarella told ABC News his parents were celebrating their anniversary in the Bahamas when they fell ill. He told the outlet his mother was released from a clinic Thursday night and later woke to find her husband on the floor.
“She couldn’t move,” he said. “Her legs and arms was swollen and she couldn’t move and she screamed to get someone to come in the door.”
Donnis Chiarella was airlifted from the resort to a hospital, said Bahamas Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper. Austin Chiarella said he was able to speak with his mother Saturday morning.
“I am just so heartbroken right now,” he said. “My dad was everything to me.”
Bodies found Friday at Sandals Emerald Bay resort
Hotel staff discovered the three people unresponsive in their villas at the Emerald Bay Sandals Resort on Great Exuma on Friday morning.
Staff notified police Friday morning that they had discovered a male guest unresponsive at a resort villa. While police were on the way to the resort, staff informed them they had discovered another man and woman, also unresponsive, in a separate villa, police said.
Police pronounced the three people dead at the scene.
“A health emergency was initially reported and following our protocols we immediately alerted emergency medical professionals and relevant local authorities,” Stacy Royal, a spokesperson for Sandals, said in a statement to USA TODAY on Saturday.
Multiple resort guests seek medical attention for nausea, vomiting
On Thursday, multiple guests at the resort had sought medical attention at a hospital for symptoms of nausea and vomiting, Bahamian Health Minister Dr. Michael Darville told Eyewitness News Bahamas. All guests received treatment and returned to the resort that night.
Darville told Eyewitness News Bahamas that environmental health scientists, physicians and others have been assigned to investigate the incident using toxicology and blood tests.
Investigators believe the illnesses are “an isolated case associated in a particular area” and are limited to the four Americans, Darville said.
It’s unclear what caused the illnesses. But the deaths come three years after more than 20 people died while vacationing in Costa Rica due to tainted alcohol and ten American tourists died in the Dominican Republic, leading the country to elevate safety regulations and enforce food and drink inspections.
In 2015, a Delaware family was sickened at a resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands by methyl bromide, a highly toxic pesticide banned for indoor residential use in 1984, used at the resort several times.
Contributing: The Associated Press