The three guests who died at the Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas on May 6 perished due to carbon monoxide poisoning, the Nassau Guardian reported.
The Guardian’s report indicated that local authorities and Sandals were “tight-lipped” about what exactly caused the carbon monoxide emissions.
Sandals in a statement on May 25 said it “was an isolated incident in one standalone structure that housed two individual guestrooms and was in no way linked to the resort’s air conditioning system, food and beverage service, landscaping services or foul play.”
Sandals said it has “engaged environmental safety experts for a comprehensive review of all systems across the resort.” Sandals also said carbon monoxide detectors have been placed in all guestrooms at the Sandals Emerald Bay, and that detectors will be installed in guestrooms at all of its resorts “although it is not mandated in any Caribbean destination where we operate.”
The three Americans who died included travel advisors Michael Phillips, 68, and his wife Robbie, 65, who owned Royal Travel in Maryville, Tenn.
The third victim was Vincent Paul Chiarella, 64, a Florida resident. His wife, Donnis, was airlifted to a hospital in Miami. She has since recovered and was released from the hospital.
Sandals said it “remains devastated by the unimaginable event 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 extend once again our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the Phillips ands Chiarella families.”
Robbie and Michael Phillips had sent clients to Sandals resorts for years. In 2019, Sandals honored Robbie with the Outstanding Sales Achievement award for destination weddings and the Chairman’s Award, given each year to one agent in the U.S. who consistently embodies and represents the Sandals brand.
Colleagues mourned their deaths on social media.
The four guests had visited a local clinic the night before their bodies were discovered, complaining of feeling ill. They were treated and returned to the resort. Their bodies were discovered the next morning.
Samples taken from the victims were sent to a lab in Philadelphia. Autopsy and toxicology reports have been completed, although the families of the victims requested a private pathologist to conduct independent autopsies in addition to the one conducted by a Bahamian pathologist, according to Dr. Michael Darville, the Bahamas’ minister of health.
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