Authorities in the Bahamas on Monday identified the three American tourists who died under mysterious circumstances at the luxury Sandals Emerald Bay resort on the island of Exuma.
Royal Bahamas Police Force Commissioner Paul Rolle named the deceased during a press conference as Robbie Phillips, 65, and Michael Phillips, 68, both from Tennessee, and Vincent Chiarella, 64, from Florida.
The three Americans were found dead in two separate villas at the resort Friday, just hours after separately seeking medical treatment because they were feeling unwell.
Rolle confirmed previous reports that Chiarella’s wife, Donnis Chiarella, 65, was airlifted to a hospital in Florida for treatment. He said she remains in serious condition.
Bahamas’ top cop also revealed that blood samples have been taken from all the victims and sent to a lab in Philadelphia for toxicology tests, with results of the toxicology study expected in about a week, Rolle said.
Additionally, officials collected samples from the rooms where the tourists were staying and the surrounding property to determine whether any contaminants were present.
He noted that the Bahamas’ Department of Environmental Health and police officers are still at the resort.
“We really want to know what caused this,” Rolle said.
When asked what he thinks might have caused the tourists’ deaths, Rolle said: “I’m not going to speculate.”
He noted that all four tourists went to a doctor the night before their bodies were discovered and they had complained of feeling ill. He said they went at different times and had eaten different things.
Chris Coucheron-Aamot — an American who is staying at the Sandals Emerald Bay in a building next to where the three vacationers died – speculated in a recent Facebook post that a faulty air conditioner may have caused the three fatalities.
Most air conditioners use a chemical called Freon — a mostly odorless gas that can cut off vital oxygen to cells and lungs if inhaled.
WFLA reported that police were examining the villa’s water heater, air conditioner, and propane supply for a water leak.
The Chiarella couple’s son, Austin Chiarella, said his father was found dead on the floor, while his mother was in bed and could not move.
“Her legs and arms was swollen and she couldn’t move and she screamed to get someone to come in the door,” Austin said.
The pair was celebrating their anniversary at the resort, Austin told ABC News, adding that he spoke to his mother on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Sandals Resorts said it would not comment further beyond its original statement, which noted that it is supporting the investigation and the families of those affected.
“Out of respect for the privacy of our guests, we cannot disclose further information at this time,” the company said.
Chester Cooper, the Bahamas acting prime minister, previously said no foul play was suspected in the deaths.
With Post Wires