3 Americans found dead at Bahamas resort, cause of death under investigation

An investigation is underway after three American tourists were found dead at a Bahamas resort on Friday, officials said.

The guests were staying at Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, Sandals confirmed.

Resort staff contacted George Town Police Station shortly after 9am on Friday that a man had been found unconscious in a villa, and en route it was reported that another man and another wife had been found unconscious in another villa, police said.

Police found the man in the first villa lying on the ground with no signs of trauma, authorities said. In the second villa, the man was found “slumped against a wall in a bathroom” and the woman was found on a bed, the Royal Bahamas Police said in a statement.

“Both individuals showed signs of convulsing,” police said. No signs of trauma were found on either body.

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

Police said Friday they were working to confirm the identities of those who died.

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

Vincent Chiarella, who was in his 60s, was staying in the Bahamas with his wife, Donnis Chiarella, for their anniversary, their son said.

Donnis Chiarella, also in his 60s, is the fourth victim to survive, Austin Chiarella said. She is being airlifted to regional facilities in Kendall, Florida and is expected to arrive late Saturday afternoon, he said.

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

“She woke up and my dad was lying on the floor, and she couldn’t move,” he said. “Her legs and arms were swollen and she couldn’t move and she screamed for someone to come in the door.”

Donnis Chiarella told his son she fell ill on Thursday but “thought she was fine” after she was discharged from the clinic, he said.

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

Environmental health scientists, doctors and others are investigating to make sure there is no danger to public health, said Darville, who called it an “isolated incident.”

“There is no potential risk to residents of Exuma 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 foul play was suspected.

Sandals said it was “actively working to support both the investigation and the families of guests in any way possible.”

“A health emergency was initially reported and, in accordance with our protocols, we immediately alerted emergency healthcare professionals and the appropriate local authorities,” the company said in a statement. “Out of respect for our customers’ privacy, we cannot release any further information at this time.”

ABC News’ Jason Volack, Caroline Guthrie, Alexandra Faul, Caroline Guthrie, Miles Cohen and Jasper Wilson contributed to this report.

ABC News

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