Bahamas calls on US labs to help solve deaths of 3 tourists

EXUMA, The Bahamas. – Officials say samples extracted from three U.S. tourists who died at a resort in the Bahamas under mysterious circumstances have been sent to a U.S. lab to expedite results and help authorities understand what happened.

Bahamas Police Commissioner Paul Rolle said Monday that officials also collected samples from the rooms where the tourists were staying.

He identified the victims as Michael, 68, and Robbie Phillips, 65, of Tennessee and Vincent Paul Chiarella, 64, of Florida.

Chiarella’s wife, Donnis, was airlifted to Florida and remains in serious condition.

Their bodies were found Friday morning at the Sandals Emerald Bay resort in Exuma.

Sandals Resorts released a statement to Local 10 News about the incident over the weekend.

“Nothing is more important to Sandals Resorts than the safety of our guests. It is with deep sadness that we can confirm the passing of three guests at Sandals Emerald Bay on May 6, 2022.”

Sandals’ release to Local 10 News went on to say: “A health emergency was initially reported and following our protocols we immediately alerted emergency medical professionals and relevant local authorities. We are actively working to support both the investigation as well as the guests’ families in every way possible during this difficult time. Out of respect for the privacy of our guests, we cannot disclose further information at this time.”

The Chiarellas’ son, Austin, told ABC News that the couple, who are originally from Birmingham, Alabama, were in the Bahamas for their anniversary and says he received a call from the U.S. Embassy around 8:30 p.m. on Friday night with news about his parents.

He spoke with his mom who said she woke up and her husband was laying on the floor. She couldn’t move, her legs and arms were swollen, and she had to scream to get someone to come in the door.

Austin also says that his mother told him she got sick on Thursday and went to a clinic and was released, believing she was alright.