PhiPhi island deaths
- From: xis2xis@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 30 May 2009 10:54:31 -0700 (PDT)
Phi Phi Deaths Riddle 'Linked to Lung Congestion'
By Alan Morison
Saturday, May 30, 2009
New Clue in Laleena Guesthouse Mystery
A PATHOLOGIST has found that the lungs of one of the tourists who died
in mysterious circumstances on Phi Phi earlier this month were ''one
hundred percent congested,'' CNN is reporting.
Such a finding would be consistent with investigators returning to the
Laleena Guesthouse, as they did last Saturday, to take additional
samples from chemicals and the air-conditioning units.
Another team of investigators also took chemical samples from Laleena
immediately after the deaths of American Jill St Onge, 27, and
Norwegian Julie Bergheim, 22.
The tourists fell ill in adjoining ground-floor Rooms 4 and 5 at the
guesthouse and died within hours of each other at the local hospital
on the weekend of May 2 and May 3.
Members of St Onge's family are quoted by CNN as saying they feel the
pathologist's findings, though preliminary, are enough to contradict
public statements made by Thai investigators that St Onge was the
victim of food poisoning.
Although some police have told a local newspaper that they believe the
cause of the deaths is food poisoning, more than one theory is being
pursued by separate teams of investigators.
The samples taken during last Saturday's return to Laleena by 18
officers, led by Phuket Police General Nappadon Kantakanit, are now
being examined in a laboratory at Prince of Songkla University in Haad
St. Onge's fiancee, Ryan Kells, who was with her when she died, told
CNN: ''I am 99.9 percent sure she did not die of food poisoning.
''She suffocated to death. I am not a doctor, but I know when someone
Kells and a younger Norwegian woman travelling with Ms Bergheim also
fell ill, but recovered.
Blood and tissue samples were provided to members of St Onge's family
by pathologists who carried out an autopsy on St Onge in Bangkok
before her body was cremated.
As well as the lab tests being undertaken in Haad Yai, toxicology
tests are now being carried out in Bangkok and the US, where St Onge's
brother Robert told CNN a pathologist hired by the family ''said her
lung tissue was gone.''
The maid who discovered the Norwegian women seriously ill in their
room has given her account of what transpired to Phuketwan while Ryan
Kell's detailed account has been recorded in an online blog.
Kells and Miss St Onge were on a long adventure through South-East
Asia, during which he asked her to marry him.
He has also told Phuketwan that local authorities seemed keen to have
him leave the holiday island with his fiancee's body as fast as
possible after her death.
The American couple shifted to Laleena from another establishment on
Phi Phi on May 2 and fell ill that evening.
Ryan Kells said he noticed a ''chemical smell'' on entering their
The Norwegians had been staying at Laleena for several days, usually
slept late and were observed enjoying the island's nightlife.
Toxicology can take weeks for a conclusion and authorities have warned
a definitive cause for the deaths may still be several weeks away.
Police General Nappadon told Phuketwan: '''We checked the locality and
the rooms where the women fell ill. 'We took away various spray
cleaners and a vacuum cleaner, and the air-conditioning filters.''
Phi Phi, about 90 minutes by ferry from the larger holiday island of
Phuket, continues to attract normal numbers of tourists.
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