Surviving US Tourist Recalls Being Stricken in Bahamas

Alabama woman survived, but 3 other Americans have died
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2022 8:30 AM CDT
After 3 American Deaths in Bahamas, Still No Answers
   (Getty/mikolajn)

(Newser) – The deaths of three American tourists at a resort in the Bahamas remained unexplained Monday as a fourth American recuperates in the hospital. Authorities in the Bahamas say they do not suspect foul play, and the State Department says it is monitoring the investigation. Details:

  • One couple: On Friday, a man and a woman were found dead in their villa at the Sandals Emerald Bay resort on Great Exuma. Police say there were no signs of trauma, though the couple appeared to have suffered convulsions, reports the New York Times. They have not been identified.
  • Second couple: Another man and woman were found in a separate villa at the same resort the same day. The man died, but the woman has since been airlifted to a hospital in Miami, where she is in serious condition, reports CNN.

  • Her ordeal: The surviving woman has been identified as Donnis Chiarella of Birmingham, Alabama, and her husband as Vincent Chiarella. Son Austin (not on the trip) tells ABC News that his mother, in her 60s, told him that she felt ill Thursday and visited a local clinic but was discharged feeling fine. The couple returned to their villa to sleep. “She woke up and my dad was laying there on the floor, and she couldn’t move,” he says. “Her legs and arms (were) swollen and she couldn’t move and she screamed to get someone to come in the door.” The couple was celebrating their anniversary.
  • Illness: Bahamian Health Minister Dr. Michael Darville said multiple guests sought treatment for nausea and vomiting at a clinic Thursday night, per USA Today, but it wasn't clear if all four of the Americans who fell ill did so. Toxicology tests on the three who died are pending. Darville said authorities had "some ideas" about what happened but would not speculate until tests results were in.
  • Guest's theory: Another American at the resort, Chris Coucheron-Aamot, speculated on Facebook that the cause “may have been a fault with the a/c in the unit, causing a toxic coolant leak," per the New York Post. “It was hard to sleep last night—every time the a/c came on, I woke up."
  • State Department: "We are closely monitoring local authorities' investigation into the cause of death," the department says in a statement. "We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect for the privacy of the families, we have nothing further to add at this time."
(Read more Bahamas stories.)

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