Powered by Blogger.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

British couple and five other tourists died in Thailand 'because of bed bug pesticide poisoning'

By Daily Mail Reporter

Deaths: All the tourists used the facilities at Downtown Inn in Chiang Mai (pictured). An investigation by a New Zealand TV documentary has revealed the hotel rooms had been sprayed with a potentially lethal toxin called pyrophus, which has been banned from indoor use in many other countries

A British couple were among seven tourists whose deaths in Thailand have been linked to a toxic bed bug pesticide.

Pensioners George Everitt, 78, and his wife Eileen, 73, from Boston, Lincolnshire, were found dead in their room at the Downtown Inn in Chiang Mai.

An undercover investigation revealed shocking evidence linking the deaths between January and March after all seven stayed at or used facilities at the hotel.

Police initially dismissed the mystery deaths as a terrible case of food poisoning caused by eating toxic seaweed from a stall at a bazaar.

Most had very similar symptoms, including myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart, suspected to have been caused by food or water contamination.

Thai authorities have continually maintained the deaths linked to the three-star hotel were coincidence despite repeated claims of a cover-up by families of the victims.

A probe by the New Zealand current affairs programme 60 Minutes has revealed the hotel rooms had been sprayed with a potentially lethal toxin called pyrophus, which has been banned from indoor use in many other countries.

Reporters posing as hotel guests secretly took samples from the fifth floor room where New Zealand backpacker Sarah Carter, 23, died in February.

Tragedy: Backpacker Sarah Carter, right, with friends on holiday in Thailand before her death in February

Test results found small traces of an insecticide called chlorpyrifos (CY) inside the room - a chemical that is used to get rid of bed bugs.

Thai police recently raided the company in charge of eradicating insects at the hotel and Chiang Mai’s head of public health suspects the pest controllers could have made a mistake.

‘It's possible that they mixed together the wrong chemicals,’ Dr Surasing Visaruthrat said.

Fears that some Thai hotels could be using unsafe chemicals first came to light two years ago when American Jill St Onge and Norwegian Julie Bergheim died at a different resort.

Their symptoms, beginning with severe chest pain, and progressing to vomiting and fainting, were almost identical to the seven other tourists who died in Chiang Mai between January and March.

American investigators suspected chemical poisoning but Thai authorities lost the samples.

United Nations chemical expert, Dr Ron McDowall, said he was confident Miss Carter's symptoms and death were linked to CY poisoning.

‘Their reaction was that it is clear, it's CY poisoning - we've seen it before, the symptoms are the same, the pathology is the same and the proxy indicates that the chemical was in the room,’ Dr McDowall said.

‘I think she’s been killed by an overzealous sprayer who has been acting on the instructions of the hotel owner to deal with the bed bugs.’

Seven tourists died after staying or visiting the three-star hotel

Dr McDowall added that the poisoning is difficult to confirm from blood samples making tests done on Miss Carter useless: ‘The chemical is absorbed by the body very quickly. It only has a half-life of a day so it can be very hard to predict the event.’

Just days after the New Zealander’s death, British pensioners Mr Everitt and his wife were found dead in their room.

There were no signs of violence or any medication sparking claims they might have taken their own lives. The couple had been staying at the hotel since February 9, the day Miss Carter died.

Her friend Amanda Eliason, 24, who also ate the seaweed, recovered after heart surgery. However, a third woman, Emma Langlands, 23, ate a different meal from the stall but also suffered food poisoning.

Miss Carter's father Richard spoke to his daughter when she was on her way to hospital. His wife then caught a flight to Thailand but Sarah had died of heart and kidney failure by the time her mother arrived.

Mr Carter said: 'It appeared to be just bad food poisoning. But within an hour of our conversation the thing just spread to her heart.’

Since his daughter's death, Mr Carter created thailandtraveltragedies.com to raise awareness of the dangers tourists can face in the country.

Another man, Canadian Bill Mah from Edmonton, was found dead in his hotel room of 'suspected natural causes' in January after visiting the Downtown Inn.

A Frenchwoman, aged between 23 and 33, died there as did Californian, Mariam Soraya Vorster, 33, says the Sydney Morning Herald.

A Thai visitor died two days before the young New Zealander passed away.

The popular tourist destination of Chiang Mai, 430 miles north of Bangkok, is one of Thailand’s most culturally significant cities, nestled among the highest mountains in the country.

The governor of Chiang Mai, ML Panadda, claimed the tourists' deaths were just bad luck: ‘I do believe coincidence… it is a very bad occasion and such bad luck for that hotel.’

The Downtown Inn continues to operate with rooms selling from £25 ($41) a night.



Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Top Web Hosting | manhattan lasik | websites for accountants