May 16, 2022

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3 US tourists found dead in Bahamas resort under investigation

3 US tourists found dead in Bahamas resort under investigation

Officials said an investigation is underway after three American tourists were found dead in the Bahamas resort on Friday.

Sandals confirmed that the guests were staying at Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma.

Resort staff called Georgetown Police Station shortly after 9 a.m. Friday, when an unresponsive man was found in a villa, and on the way, another unresponsive man and woman were found in another villa, police said.

Authorities said the police found the man in the first villa lying on the ground and showing no signs of shock. Bahamas police said in a statement that the man was found in the second villa “lying on a bathroom wall” and the woman was found on a bed.

“Both people showed signs of convulsions,” police said. No signs of trauma were found on either of the bodies.

Bahamas Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville told ABC News that some hotel guests went to a clinic on Thursday for nausea and vomiting, treated and left. Three people were later found dead, he said, while a fourth woman was airlifted to a New Providence hospital and is in stable condition.

On Friday, police said they were working to verify the identities of the dead.

One of the victims was Vincent Chiarella, of Birmingham, Alabama, whose son Austin Chiarella confirmed to ABC News.

His son said Vincent Chiarella, who was in his mid-60s, was staying in the Bahamas with his wife, Denis Chiarella, on their wedding anniversary.

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Austin Chiarella said Denis Chiarella, also in her mid-60s, was the fourth victim to survive. It will be flown to the Kendall Regional facility in Florida and is supposed to arrive late Saturday afternoon, he said.

Austin Chiarella said he received a call from the US Embassy on Friday night with the news and was able to speak with his mother on Saturday morning.

“I woke up and my father was lying on the floor, and she couldn’t move,” he said. “Her legs and arms were swollen, she couldn’t move and she screamed to get someone to the door.”

Denis Chiarella told her son that she fell ill on Thursday but “thought she was fine” after being discharged from the clinic.

“I’m so sad right now,” Austin Chiarella said. “My father was everything to me.”

Darville said environmental health scientists, clinicians and others are investigating to make sure there are no public health risks, describing it as an “isolated incident.”

“There is no potential danger to any Exuma residents as well as residents of the resort or any other resort in Exuma,” he said.

Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper said in a statement on Friday that the cause of death was unknown but no crime was suspected.

Sandals said she is “actively working to support the investigation as well as the families of the guests in every possible way.”

“A health emergency was initially reported and our protocols followed, we immediately alerted emergency medical professionals and relevant local authorities,” the company said in a statement. “Out of respect for the privacy of our guests, we are unable to disclose more information at this time.”

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Jason Folac, Caroline Guthrie, Alexandra Foll, Caroline Guthrie, Miles Cohen and Jasper Ward of ABC News contributed to this report.