Three Americans have been pronounced dead after a tragedy at a Sandals resort in the Bahamas.
Two men and one woman were found dead at the Sandals Emerald Bay Resort on the island of Exuma on Friday of last week, according to multiple media reports. A fourth woman was also hospitalized. The incident remains totally unexplained — calling back to the mysterious wave of deaths at the Bahía Príncipe resort in the Dominican Republic back in 2019. Investigators suspected tainted or poisoned alcohol, but nothing was ever proven in that case.
Details were scarce for several days following this tragedy, and as of Monday morning, the deceased travelers’ identities still have not been publicly released by government officials. However, a man named Austin Chiarella spoke to ABC News about the tragedy, revealing that his parents were two of the four people involved.
According to the outlet, the younger Chiarella confirmed that his father, Vincent Chiarella, was one of the three people who died late last week at the island resort. Austin also informed the news org that his mother, Donnis Chiarella, was the female victim who is currently hospitalized.
Austin explained his mother and father, who were “both in their mid-60s,” had been celebrating their anniversary at the resort. Shocked and saddened, the poor young man told the outlet:
“I am just so heartbroken right now. My dad was everything to me.”
So what happened?!
Austin also shed new light on that. He told ABC News that his mother fell ill on Thursday night and visited a local health clinic for treatment. After being seen by doctors, she “thought she was alright,” and was deemed well enough to return to the villa where she and her husband had been staying. However, when she woke up the following morning, things had rapidly deteriorated.
Austin told the outlet:
“My dad was laying there on the floor, and she couldn’t move. Her legs and arms was swollen and she couldn’t move and she screamed to get someone to come in the door.”
The Royal Bahamas Police Force shared more information about their initial investigation into the awful incident. On Friday, a spokesperson for the RBPF said in a statement to the media:
“On their arrival at the scene they were directed to the first villa. On entering a bedroom, they found a caucasian male laying on the ground unresponsive. An examination of the body was conducted, there was no signs of trauma found. The local doctor later pronounced the victim dead.”
The spokesperson added more details about the second discovery:
“The officers were then directed to the second villa, where they found a caucasian male slumped against the wall in a bathroom unresponsive. A caucasian female was also found in a bedroom on a bed. She too was unresponsive. Both individuals showed signs of convulsion. The officers examined the bodies and found no signs of trauma. The local doctor later pronounced both persons dead.”
So, so sad.
A rep for Sandals told People the the resort believes there was an a “health emergency” involving the four people. Later, the resort released a longer statement to the media about the horrible situation:
“It is with deep sadness that we can confirm the passing of three guests at Sandals Emerald Bay on May 6, 2022. 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.”
Now, the RBPF is trying to figure out exactly what happened.
Police do not believe there to be any criminal threat to anyone on the island. Bahamas Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper relayed to the media that “foul play is not suspected” even as the cause is “still unknown” at this point. The US State Department is “closely” monitoring the investigation and its aftermath, per People.
Here is the latest on the tragedy and ensuing investigation, from Monday morning, via GMA (below):
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Austin Chiarella, as well as the other family members, friends, and loved ones of the deceased people.
Such a terrible, unexpected situation.
[Image via GMA/YouTube]