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Two dead in Phi Phi poison mystery

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET CITY: Two tourists died and two others became seriously ill after staying at the same guesthouse on Phi Phi Island in Krabi this week.

US citizen Jill St. Onge, 26, died on May 2, shortly after being taken to hospital by her boyfriend Ryan Kells, who also fell ill.

Both tourists were vomiting severely before Miss St. Onge’s admission to hospital.

Her family have set up a blog website to publicize the story. Writing on that site, Mr Kells said he suspected the air conditioning in the room was responsible for the apparent case of poisoning, as he had spent less time in the room than Miss St. Onge.

… I kept getting these breaks from the air in the room, while Jill kept staying in bed. She was exposed to the air in the room for probably five or six more hours than I was,” he wrote.

The following day, the same room was rented out to two Norwegian women, both of whom developed the same symptoms.

The Norwegian Ambassador to Thailand, Merete Brattested, confirmed that Julie Michelle Bergheim, 22, died on May 4 in Bangkok Hospital Phuket.

Her friend is understood to be recovering in ICU.

Phi Phi Island Hospital Director Dr Buncha Khakong said that the cause of both deaths is being investigated by the Department of Disease Control in Bangkok.

I guessed something they consumed caused them to die but, I cannot say clearly until we receive the lab results,” he said.

A police inquiry is now under way. The bodies of both of the deceased are understood to have been sent to Bangkok for autopsy.

Meanwhile, the popular Nation/Thaivisa.com on-line forum has been active with posters speculating over the cause of the deaths.  

Poisoned drinks, faulty air conditioning, carbon monoxide and chemicals from a water treatment plant near the guesthouse have all been mentioned as possible causes.

To follow the discussion, click here.

— Kamol Pirat & Gazette Reporters

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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