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  1. #1

    What is going on in the DR

    Just wondering if anyone has any theories as to what is happening in the DR with tourists dying? I haven't heard anything on the news about Blackbeard's so I am assuming they have had no deaths. The news stories has gotten my attention because I may go there for a little R&R one of these years.

    Anyone been there lately?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Don Keyknob's Avatar
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    Sep 2017
    Mum's Basement

    Re: What is going on in the DR

    Not too sure at the moment - but foul play of some sort looks likely.

    Everybody seems to have got ill seconds after hitting the mini-bars in their room - quickly followed by death. I'm no doctor - but I'd put a large bet on poisoning.

    The lawyers of the recent couple who died are awaiting the return of the bodies to do their own toxicology reports as, understandably, they don't want to rely on the official reports from the Dominican Republic.

    A man involved in tourism there tried to suggest that the fatalities were caused by people taking advantage of the all-inclusive elements. Drinking and eating too much when their bodies aren't used to it. His explanations seems ridiculous as the recent couple look to have died at the same time.

    It'll be interesting to find out what the families own toxicology reports say - but it's difficult to say why, who and how, even if foul play is discovered.

    As far as your own holidays are concerned, things can happen anywhere. This is only a very small percentage of all the holidaymakers that go there, so although I wouldn't suggest going for a while until things are investigated - I wouldn't scratch it off your list permanently.

  3. #3
    Moderator Unboxxed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Re: What is going on in the DR

    Here's a New York Times article dated today, June 12:

    More than two million Americans visit the Dominican Republic every year, making up about a third of the country’s tourists. Six have died in the last year during their visits. Because of the seeming similarities among their deaths, their family members have suggested that they are connected and have raised suspicions about the resorts where they died. Here’s what we know, and don’t know, about the circumstances.

    Who has died, and how?

    Yvette Monique Sport, 51, died in June 2018 of a heart attack. Her sister, Felecia Nieves, has said that Ms. Sport had a drink from the minibar in her room at a Bahia Príncipe resort, one of a number on the island, then went to sleep and never woke up.

    In July 2018, David Harrison, 45, died at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. Mr. Harrison died of a heart attack and The Washington Post reported that his death certificate also listed “pulmonary edema, an accumulation of fluid in the lungs that can cause respiratory failure, and atherosclerosis” as causes of death. He and his wife were in the Dominican Republic for their wedding anniversary with their son.

    In April of this year, Robert Wallace became sick at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, where he was attending a wedding and died. The 67 year old’s family said that he became ill after drinking scotch from the minibar in the hotel.

    Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, of Allentown, Pa., was celebrating her 10th wedding anniversary when she died at the Luxury Bahia Príncipe Bouganville, on May 25 of this year of a heart attack. She had been at the resort for less than 24 hours.

    A few days later, Nathaniel Edward Holmes 63, and Cynthia Ann Day, 49, from Prince George’s County, Md., were found dead in their room at the Grand Bahia Príncipe La Romana. The two had recently become engaged. An autopsy found that the couple had respiratory failure and pulmonary edema.

    Are the hotels connected?

    Four of the dead were staying at Bahia Príncipe resorts, which are part of a group of 14 hotels in the Dominican Republic that are popular among tourists because they are all-inclusive. The Luxury Bahia Príncipe Bouganville, where Ms. Schaup-Werner died, is less than a five-minute walk away from the Grand Bahia Príncipe La Romana, where Mr. Holmes and Ms. Day died. Both are near the town of San Pedro De Macoris. The Hard Rock is across the island from the other two hotels in Punta Cana. It is not known which Bahia Príncipe resort Ms. Sport was staying in.

    What are the hotels saying?

    In a statement on Friday, Bahia Principe said reports of the deaths had been inaccurate and that the hotel was committed to “collaborating completely with the authorities and hope for a prompt resolution of their inquiries and actions.”

    Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos said in a statement on Tuesday evening that it is waiting for official reports about the deaths and is, “Deeply saddened by these two unfortunate incidents, and we extend our sincerest sympathy to the families of Mr. Harrison and Mr. Wallace.”

    What are Dominican officials doing?

    The Dominican Attorney General’s office and the national police are investigating the deaths, but tourism officials have been downplaying them. The tourism minister, Francisco Javier García, said last week that in the last five years, more than 30 million tourists have visited the country, and that these deaths are “isolated incidents” and the island is safe for tourists.

    “These are situations that can occur in any country, in any hotel in the world,” he said. “It’s regrettable but sometimes it happens.”
    The tourism ministry said last week that hotels had 60 days to install security cameras.

    What are U.S. officials saying?

    In a statement issued Tuesday evening, the U.S. State Department said that “Dominican authorities have asked for F.B.I. assistance for further toxicology analysis,” and it could take up to a month to receive the results. A spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control said that the organization had not received a request for assistance from the Dominican Republic relating to these deaths.

    Are there any theories as to what might be causing the deaths?

    Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said in a phone interview that the symptoms that have been reported, like pulmonary edema, bleeding and vomiting blood, are “consistent with poisoning,” perhaps accidental. But until toxicology reports are available, he said, it is difficult and too soon to definitively say what caused the visitors’ deaths.

    “It’s rare for travelers to die of unknown causes like this, and to have a high number of them in a relatively short period of time is alarming, shocking, sad,” Dr. Inglesby said. “It’s something that investigators should be able to get to the bottom of.”

    The fact that toxicology reports have not been released or completed is “unconscionable and inexplicable,” he said.

    Have there been other incidents?

    Two couples have come forward to say they fell ill while staying at one of the Bahia Príncipe resorts where tourists have died.

    In January 2018, Doug Hand, 40, and his wife Susie Lauterborn, 38, were staying at the Grand Bahia Príncipe La Romana when, he said in a phone interview, they got sick with fevers, nausea, cold sweats, diarrhea and fatigue.

    Mr. Hand said that he didn’t drink alcohol on the trip, but he did notice a “moldy, mildewy smell like the A.C. or filter hadn’t been cleaned.”
    When Mr. Hand told an employee in the hotel’s lobby that his wife was sick, the employee gave him directions to a doctor, but seemed more focused on ensuring the couple attended a meeting about buying time shares, Mr. Hand said.

    Kaylynn Knull, 29, and Tom Schwander, 33, are suing the resort chain for $1 million, their lawyer told The Times, because the Colorado-based couple became violently ill during their stay at the Grand Bahia Príncipe La Romana last summer. Ms. Knull got a persistent headache and was sweating and drooling profusely, the lawyer, David Columna, said. She also had blurry vision, nausea and diarrhea, she told CNN, and family doctors determined the couple had been exposed to organophosphates, a class of insecticides.

    “The hotel did nothing,” said Mr. Columna, who is representing Ms. Knull and Mr. Schwander in the Dominican Republic. The couple, he said, “spent the night inhaling the chemical and they are still having side effects of the intoxication and the hotel hasn’t given us any idea of what happened.”

    June 12, 2019 - What We Know About the Dominican Republic Tourist Deaths
    The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
    - Henry David Thoreau

    There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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  4. #4
    Super Moderator Mr Wombat's Avatar
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    Mar 2014

    Re: What is going on in the DR

    If those figures are right - two million people per year, six people dying, all of them middle aged - I'm just about prepared to write this off as a meh. A half dozen fifty year olds dying of heart attacks is not really news.

    A bit like the bermuda triangle. The numbers don't bear out the hype.

    If the numbers are true, of course.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mgtower's Avatar
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    Mar 2019

    Re: What is going on in the DR

    I've eaten things in Mexico that made me wish I was dead!

    Dominican Republic, Haiti? I wouldn't step foot on that island! It's the Bronx and Harlem of the Caribbean!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Downtown Brooklyn, NY

    Re: What is going on in the DR

    Being part Dominican myself, the DR part of the island is far more pleasing to the eyes than the neighbors over at Haiti but even the Dominican Republic has it's faults. It has it's share of rough gangs (the ones that targeted David Ortiz formerly of the Red Sox) but what section of the world doesn't have goons in it? There is an unnamed illness going on in which I would advise many people to put their vacation plans on hold until that situation is sorted out but these things don't last for long. Remember the whole buzz with the Zika virus in Brazil in 2016? That only lasted for a hot minute too.

    So Shrug the Script, I would personally recommend a good stay over there, it has good affordable resorts and a lot of leisurely things to do but as of now, I'd wait until this situation in particular blows over.

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