Couple running travel agency, man celebrating anniversary identified as tourist who died in Bahamas

(NEXSTAR) – Authorities have identified the three American tourists who died at Sandals Resort in the Bahamas after falling mysteriously ill. Samples taken from the three tourists were sent to a US lab to help determine what happened.

Officers were called to the Sandals Resort on Exuma Island on Friday morning after one of the tourists, a man, was found unresponsive in a villa, the Royal Bahamas Police Force said in a statement.

On their way to the resort, officers were told that two more unresponsive tourists, a woman and a second man, had been found in a separate villa. All three were pronounced dead at the compound, with the woman and second man showing “signs of seizures,” local officials said.

A fourth tourist, a woman, was airlifted to a hospital.

The three victims have been identified as Michael and Robbie Phillips of Tennessee and Vincent Paul Chiarella of Florida. Chiarella’s wife, Donnis, was the woman who was taken to the hospital. She has been airlifted to Florida but remains in serious condition.

The Tennessee couple is from Maryville, where they ran a travel agency that worked with Sandals, Nexstar’s WATER has learned. The agency has been recognized with multiple awards and accreditations from the Sandals Travel Agency Recognition Awards.

A Facebook post from Thursday, supposedly published by Robbie Phillipshe even shared admiration for the sights in the Bahamas.

Samples were taken from tourists, their rooms, and nearby property to help identify if any contaminants were present.

Health Minister Michael Darville said Saturday that some hotel guests went to a clinic Thursday with nausea and vomiting, were treated and left. He said initial investigations indicate it was an isolated incident.

Chiarella’s son, Austin, spoke with ABC News last week and said his parents had stayed at the resort for their anniversary. Donnis told her son that she got sick on Thursday but that he felt he was “okay” after leaving the clinic, ABC News reports.

Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper issued a statement Friday saying police are investigating and “no crime is suspected.”

Minister for Health and Welfare Dr. Michael Darville said Eyewitness News Bahamas The team investigating these deaths “has a theory” about what happened, but is still working to determine the exact cause. Authorities continue to believe that these are isolated cases.

The US State Department is monitoring the investigation and is “ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance,” a spokesman said. The hill.

In a statement to Eyewitness News Bahamas, a Sandals representative said: “Nothing is more important to Sandals Resorts than the safety of our guests. It is with deep sadness that we confirm the passing of three of our guests at Emerald Bay Resort on May 6, 2022. A health emergency was initially reported and, following protocols, we immediately alerted emergency medical professionals and the appropriate local authorities to provide support and investigate the situation.

The company said it is cooperating with the investigation.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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