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Carbon monoxide killed 3 Americans at Bahamas Sandals resort, police say

NBC News logo NBC News 6/29/2022 Chantal Da Silva

Three U.S. tourists found dead at a Sandals resort in the Bahamas in May were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, police said Tuesday.

In a statement, the Royal Bahamas Police Force said the three victims, identified as Michael Phillips, 68, and Robbie Phillips, 65, from Tennessee; and Vincent Chiarella, 64, from Florida, had died as a result of asphyxiation due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

They said an investigation into the deadly incident was still underway.

Image: Michael and Robbie Phillips. (Robbie Phillips / via Facebook) © Robbie Phillips Image: Michael and Robbie Phillips. (Robbie Phillips / via Facebook)

The three Americans were found dead at the Sandals Emerald Bay Resort in Great Exuma on May 6.

Chiarella’s wife, Donnis, 65, was airlifted to a hospital in Florida in serious condition. The hospital, HCA Florida Kendall in Miami, later said her health had been upgraded to “fair condition,” NBC Miami reported. Her current condition was not immediately known.

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Police previously said an initial investigation had found that one of the couples had complained of illness the night before they were found. They had visited a medical facility, received treatment and then returned to the villa, police said.

It was not clear if the villas had been equipped with carbon monoxide detectors or if they had, whether they were working. A spokesperson for Sandals did not directly respond to a question from NBC News on whether the villas had been equipped with carbon monoxide detectors at the time.

In a statement, the spokesperson said Sandals has "fully supported the investigation into this event to ensure we are doing everything possible to learn from it."

Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, Bahamas. (Google Maps) © Provided by NBC News Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, Bahamas. (Google Maps)

"Bahamian authorities have concluded the cause was an isolated incident in one standalone structure that housed two individual guest rooms," they said.

The spokesperson repeated past comments from the company saying carbon monoxide detectors have since been placed in all guest rooms at Sandals Emerald Bay and will be installed in all guest rooms across the company's portfolio.

The deaths have cast a cloud over the resort hotel since the incident unfolded. The location is billed as an “adults-only” enclave with 11 restaurants and a golf course overlooking a secluded stretch of beach.

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