Dominican Republic mystery: 2 more tourists report life-threatening illnesses after vacations
On the second day of the trip, Tina Hammell and her husband John returned to their room to catch some sleep. Moments later, the couple awoke startled by a strange odor that "smelled like paint."
A Canadian woman became the latest case to surface in the litany of mysterious illnesses coming out of the Dominican Republic, after she was reportedly "poisoned" by a strange odor in her hotel room that led to a disturbing fit of spasms. Three years ago, Tina Hammell, 49, from Ontario was staying at the Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana -- the same hotel where three American guests inexplicably died within a week of each other, CNN reported.
On the second day of the trip, Tina and her husband John returned to their room to catch some shuteye. Moments later, the couple awoke startled by a strange odor that "smelled like paint." Tina said her "throat and nose were on fire.”
According to John, his wife immediately “jumped up and ran outside, coughing and hacking,” while his throat also "stung bad." When they called the front desk, staffers rushed to their room to spray what appeared to be disinfectant. According to CNN, the pair changed rooms but Tina's condition just kept getting worse. She was covered in sweat, nauseated, lost her voice, and was struggling to breathe.
As Tina's health didn't improve, John took her to the resort's medical center, where, per the report, she began to convulse. “She kept passing out while I was trying to hold her,” John said. “I said, ‘You’re not going to die. You’re not going to die.’” Eventually, she had to be revived using a defibrillator and was subsequently rushed to a hospital, where doctors discovered lesions on her lungs. When the couple returned to Canada, a doctor told them Tina could've lost her life on the Carribean island. “You’ve been poisoned, but we don’t know from what,” the physician told her. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Bahia Principe Hotel and Resorts told the New York Post “providing a safe and welcoming environment for travelers stands at the heart of our company values.”
“The safety and comfort of our guests and staff stand at the core of our company values, and we work daily to ensure it,” the statement said. “All our properties in the Dominican Republic hold some of the most prestigious certifications in the industry.”
Having said that, Hammell's claims come after a wave of tourists reported unexplained illnesses during or after their visits to the island. Jade King, another tourist, is also grateful to be alive after his February trip, according to WALB. “I really thought I was leaving this world because I was really sick,” King told the outlet.
A resident of Albany, Georgia, King flew to the tourist destination in February and fell ill after consuming a few drinks. His condition grew worse and he started vomiting, had diarrhea, nausea, and lower abdominal pain. “The night before we left, me, him and another friend had some drinks and about an hour or two into our flight, I passed out,” King said. “The flight attendant was pouring water down my throat.”
Commenting on the recent reports of other tourists who had similar experiences, he said they are not merely a coincidence. “That’s a trend,” he said.