The Strange Deaths of Two Sisters in Thailand
2012-09-07 0:00

By Deborah Blum | Wired.com



The Phi Phi Islands sit off the western coast of Thailand, floating like jewels in a turquoise sea, a picture-perfect image of a tropical getaway. Director Danny Boyle filmed his 2000 psychothriller, The Beach, on the largest of those islands and if you know the movie, you know, despite the gem-like setting the story ends badly.

They say, though, that the movie put the largest of the islands, Ko Phi Phi Don, on the map as a tourist getaway, a reasonably priced home to glittering beaches and unlimited partying. And that’s undoubtedly what drew two young sisters from a small Canadian village, just north of the Maine border, to travel there for a summer break from their university studies.


Audrey and Noemi Belanger

Noemi Belanger was 26 and her sister, Audrey, 20, when they planned the June vacation. Both sisters lived in their hometown of Pohenegamook, Quebec. Did I mention that it was small, the kind of place where people know each other, stay close? The population is about 3,000 and both girls worked for their father, Carl, in his grocery store before starting university classes. They were happy girls, friendly, residents say, involved in their community, helping out at the local library, at public beaches.

This summer, they were ready to fly a little, indulge in a splashy vacation. So they saved their money and flew to Thailand in June, went to visit the Phi Phi Islands. And there, as a flood of mid-June news stories made obvious, things went very wrong. Very, very wrong.

The stories were puzzled, horrified. A story in Canada’s National Post described a hotel maid finding the sisters dead in their room, with lesions tracked across their bodies, their fingernails and toenails turned an odd grayish blue. They were huddled in their beds, relayed the Global Post, smeared with vomit and blood.


Rumors flew of an exotic poison, of a lurking killer. Dismissive statements from the police added to the sense of mystery. “We found many kinds of over-the-counter-drugs, including ibuprofen, which can cause serious effects on the stomach,” one investigator said, sounding as if packing painkillers was the real problem. Mysterious poison deaths of tourists visiting the Phi Phi Islands were recalled: the 2009 death of a Seattle woman, still unsolved today. The similar and also unexplained death of a 22-year-old woman from Norway the same year. An odd cluster of deaths in another Thai city during winter of last year, including a 23-year-old woman from New Zealand. The conspiracy theories expanded to include the unexplained deaths of two young women in Vietnam this summer.  “Is this a cover-up?” asked a letter writer in the Bangkok Post after the police went on from the ibuprofen theory to one that involved food poisoning.


And not just any food poisoning. A leak from the investigation suggested that detectives were considering the possibility that the sisters had dined – somewhere – on either poisonous mushrooms or blowfish, sometimes called pufferfish or fugu. The fishes are considered a delicacy but they must be carefully prepared to exclude any contact with the liver or other internal organs, which contain an exceptionally potent neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin.

Neither of these suggestions, though, were an ideal match for the described symptoms. Tetrodotoxin is most famous for its ability to induce a corpse-like paralysis in victims; they may remain alert but unable to move or communicate, gradually suffocating as the lungs fail. Poisonous mushrooms tend to kill by gradually destroying the liver. As quickly as the suggestion was floated it seemed to disappear, leaving the questions to further simmer over the summer.


[...]


Read the full article at: wired.com












Related Articles


Latest News from our Front Page

Viking Ship Construction - by the Museum in Roskilde, Denmark
2015-03-31 19:54
(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));[6] #FraVragTilVirkelighed: Smidige planker Vikingeskibene er bygget af frisk træ. Konstruktionen er let og fleksibel og har stillet store krav til materialekvalitet. Som grundprincip følges træets naturlige strukturer for at opnå ...
60 Years of Research Links Gluten Grains to Schizophrenia
2015-03-31 1:05
Does the consumption of gluten-containing grains contribute to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia? Believe it or not, this question has been asked for well over 60 years by researchers who stumbled upon evidence that the removal of gluten from the diet results in improved symptoms, or conversely, that gluten grain consumption leads to higher prevalence of both neurological and psychiatric problems. Reports ...
Thousands of migrants dumped on Britain as French wriggle out of border promise
2015-03-30 19:56
Thousands of migrants could be dumped on Britain’s doorstep if France tears up a historic border agreement, it was claimed last night. Officials have vowed to do “everything in their power” to wriggle out of a treaty moving the UK border to Calais. The besieged town’s mayor Natacha Bouchart is prepared to spark a major diplomatic row by opening the frontier ...
Richard III laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral
2015-03-30 18:36
King Richard III was today laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral - more than 500 years after his death in battle. The monarch, who reigned from 1483 to 1485, was the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch read a poem by Carol Ann Duffy during the service. Also in attendance was Robert Lindsay, who played Richard III in a version ...
Sweden - A new paradise for Romani beggars
2015-03-30 17:33
Thanks to the European Union and freedom of movement that follows with membership Sweden has been flooded with gypsies from Eastern Europe. Most member states have cracked down hard on the phenomenon of organized begging with legislation and forceful evictions so the Romani (colloquially known as Gypsies) who are engaged in this venture have moved their business to the country where ...
More News »