Mystery remains after pesticides blamed for Thailand tourist deaths
The father of one of the tourists has called for a fresh investigation into her death after Thai authorities said she had probably died after eating 'toxic seaweed'
Wednesday 17 August 2011
Questions remain over the mysterious deaths of six foreign tourists and a local tour guide in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai despite a five-month investigation.
The deaths, including those of an elderly British couple and a 23-year-old New Zealand backpacker, occurred between January and March this year. Four of the victims died while, or shortly after, staying at the same hotel and all but one died from sudden heart failure.
The report from Thailand's Department for Disease Control said three of the victims "probably died of exposure to pesticides" but it is not known what the chemicals were. The agency's report concluded that George and Eileen Everitt, from Boston, Lincolnshire, could have been poisoned by the same chemicals, but a direct link to the other deaths could not be found.
"Despite the best efforts of the Thai authorities and their international partners in undertaking an exhaustive investigation [...] the precise causes for the deaths and illnesses cannot be definitively identified or confirmed," the report concluded. Full laboratory tests had been inhibited due to inadequate samples, because the need for such tests was "not foreseen at the time of death", it added.
Mr and Mrs Everitt's son Stephen said he was frustrated by the investigations' conclusions. "The case may be closed to the Thai authorities, but not to me," he told The Independent. Mr and Mrs Everitt were found dead in their room at the three-star Downtown Inn hotel in Chiang Mai on 19 February. Thai authorities said the couple suffered fatal heart attacks just minutes apart.
"I don't understand why such deadly chemicals would have been used in a hotel – there's no explanation. The Downtown Inn is still open and no one has been held accountable for what happened. We need answers," Mr Everitt said. David Mabey, professor of communicable diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it is "very surprising" that such strong pesticides should be used in a hotel, but said little more can be done to investigate the deaths without adequate samples to work from.
Thailand's public health department enlisted experts from the World Health Organisation in May after doubts were raised over claims made by local authorities that the deaths were coincidental, and possibly caused by food poisoning.
Richard Carter, father of the New Zealand backpacker Sarah, called for a fresh investigation into his daughter's death after Thai authorities said she had probably died from myocarditis (swelling of the heart) after eating "toxic seaweed" from a market next to the hotel.
A Thai tour guide who had been staying in a room next to Ms Carter and the Everitts died on 3 February, three days before Ms Carter.
The report said Thai authorities are "taking measures to reduce the risk of chemical and pesticide exposure to future visitors to Chiang Mai and other main tourist provinces".
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
- 5 Dutch paedophile club to fight their ban at the European Court of Human Rights
Lana Del Rey: 'I have slept with a lot of guys in the industry'
Peaches Geldof cause of death: 'Heroin addict' socialite had taken fatal dose of drug, inquest concludes
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Was a Russian-made missile really parked in this quiet square?
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...
£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...