Report: Carbon Monoxide Cause of Three Sandals Resort Deaths

The cause of death for the three American tourists who died at Sandals Emerald Bay on Great Exuma, Bahamas, earlier this month was determined to the carbon monoxide poisoning, according to The Nassau Guardian. The full autopsy and toxicology reports are expected to be released soon.

Among the three who died were two who were part of the travel agency community: Robbie Phillips, 65, and her husband Michael Phillips, 68. The third guest was Vincent Chiarella, 64; his wife, Donnis Chiarella, 65, was found alive and was airlifted to a hospital, where she was reported to be in stable condition before recovering.

According to The Nassau Guardian’s report, the couples were staying in adjacent villas in the same building at the resort. The Phillipses, as reported by the Royal Bahamas Police Force at the time, both complained of an illness the night prior and received treatment at a local facility before returning to the resort.

Bahamas Minister of Health Michael Darville told said health officials believed the deaths were isolated incidents and there was no public health concern.

In a statement provided to Travel Agent, a spokesperson for Sandals said, "We remain devastated by the unimaginable event that occurred at Sandals Emerald Bay Resort earlier this month that resulted in the loss of three lives, including two members of our beloved travel advisor community, and the recovery of a fourth guest. We wish to once again extend our deepest sympathies and our heartfelt condolences to the Phillips and Chiarella families. 

"Despite initial speculation, Bahamian authorities have concluded the cause was an isolated incident in one standalone structure that housed two individual guest rooms and was in no way linked to the resort’s air conditioning system, food and beverage service, landscaping services or foul play. 

"Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our guests and team members is and will always be paramount. It is for this reason that we have taken additional measures such as engaging environmental safety experts for a comprehensive review of all systems across the resort. In addition, CO detectors have now been placed in all guest rooms at Sandals Emerald Bay and although not mandated in any Caribbean destination where we operate, detectors will be installed in all guest rooms throughout the portfolio. 

"Our entire team is keeping the families in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

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