The Nassau Guardian reported Monday that three American tourists found dead at Sandals Emerald Bay Resort in the Bahamas earlier this month died due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
An autopsy confirmed a Tennessee couple, Michael Phillips, 68, and Robbie Phillips, 65, were two of the three that passed away. The third was Vincent Chiarella, 64, from Florida, whose wife, Donnis, was briefly hospitalized but recovered.
The victims, who stayed in separate villas next to each other in the same building, were found unresponsive in their rooms after reportedly seeking medical help for feeling ill the previous night.
There is still an ongoing investigation into the exact cause of death, with several guests complaining about the food that was served, a strong odor of insecticides, air conditioning leakage, and issues with the water heater.
The Daily Mail pointed out reviews of the Bahamas resort on TripAdvisor suggest it had recently transitioned from a respected destination to a state of disrepair.
Michael T. wrote a review days after the incident on May 8, mentioning how he enjoyed his first trip but was shocked at the state of the resort just a year later.
“What we experienced is a resort in a state of disrepair and drastically under staffed,” he wrote. “Air conditioning, plumbing, no towels, employees that were new and poorly trained, and staff that seemed to be over worked. Tragically we had to experience the death of three guests and injury of a fourth. It was very difficult to relax to say the least under these circumstances.”
Bahamian Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville told the country’s Eyewitness News on May 18 the families have been permitted an independent autopsy from a doctor abroad.
“There’s still some investigations ongoing at the Sandals resort. We also have the pathologists in-country who have done their job and samples were sent to a very reliable lab in the United States,” Darville said.
“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 [death],” he added.