Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Food Poisoning Link Probe In British Couple's Death In Chiang Mai, Thailand
Police are investigating a possible food poisoning link between the deaths of a British couple and a New Zealand backpacker in Thailand.
Pensioners George and Eileen Everitt died in the same hotel in Chiang Mai where Sarah Carter, 23, and her two friends collapsed after eating at the city’s Night Bazaar food market.
The pair, from Boston, Lincolnshire, were found dead in their room in the three star Downtown Inn. Mrs Everitt, 74, was found lying on the bed. Mr Everitt, 78, was in a sitting position on the floor, with his face falling on to the bed.
Police said no drugs, medicine or poison were found in the room. And there was no evidence of violence or wounds on their corpses. Tests are being carried out on their bodies at Maharat Chiang Mai Hospital.
A police spokesman said: “We do not want to speculate on the cause of death but if there has been any poisoning it should be revealed in medical tests.”
The couple had been staying at the hotel since February 9, the same day Ms Carter (below centre) died from food poisoning. She and two friends were struck down hours after eating at a street food stall.
Amanda Eliason, 24, (below left) recovered after emergency heart surgery. Emma Langlands, 23, (below right) who ordered a different meal from the stall, also suffered food poisoning but later recovered.
Initially police said Ms Carter’s death was caused by eating toxic seaweed. Her father Richard said this has now been ruled out as the cause of the food poisoning but tests are continuing.
Thai police are now investigating the hotel’s kitchen and ventilation system.
In August 2007, 15 people died and more than 100 were taken ill in Thailand after eating poisonous puffer fish, which had been coloured to look like salmon.
The month before, police arrested a man in Samut Songkhram province who was planning to sell more than a ton of the illegal fish. They were to be sold to restaurants and made into fish balls.
Although puffer fish – called fugu in Japan - was banned in Thailand in 2002, it continues to be sold in markets and restaurants. Its ovaries, liver and intestines contain a deadly poison. It is prepared by highly-trained chefs in Japan and consumed by thrill-seeking gourmets.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said an investigation has been launched to try to establish how the couple died. She added: "We are in touch with the family and are helping them through this very difficult time."