The U.S. State Department said it is “closely monitoring” an incident in which three American citizens were found dead at a resort in the Bahamas over the weekend.
Bahamas Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper announced that two men and one woman were discovered dead at Sandals Emerald Bay resort on May 6. Another woman was hospitalized, he said.
Late on Saturday, a spokesperson for the State Department told several news outlets that the agency can confirm the deaths of three U.S. citizens in the country.
“We can confirm the death of three U.S. citizens in the Bahamas. We are closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation into the cause of death. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect for the privacy of the families, we have nothing further to add at this time,” the spokesperson said.
One of the three Americans was identified by a family member as Vincent Ciarella of Birmingham, Alabama.
Austin Chiarella told WVTM-13 that his parents, Vincent and Donnis Chiarella, were guests at the Sandals Emerald Bay resort on Great Exuma when his father was found dead. His mother was injured, he said, adding that his family is trying to find more information about the incident.
The couple was celebrating their wedding anniversary at the resort, he told ABC News separately. His mother, he said, had woken up to discover that “she couldn’t move” and that her husband “was laying on the floor.”
“Her legs and arms [were] swollen and she couldn’t move and she screamed to get someone to come in the door,” Austin said.
But Donnis Chiarella said she had fallen sick on Thursday but “thought she was alright” after the woman was released from a clinic, he told ABC.
The other victims have not yet been identified.
Bahamian Health Minister Dr. Michael Darville told local media that hotel guests sought treatment for nausea and vomiting a day before the three people were found dead.
“We feel that what we are seeing is an isolated case associated in a particular area,” he claimed.
Cooper, the acting prime minister, said that an investigation is underway and said their causes of death are not known. Foul play is being ruled out, he added.
The Sandals Resort said in a statement Saturday that a “health emergency” was initially reported, triggering a response from police and emergency medical services officials.
“We are actively working to support both the investigation as well as the guests’ families in every way possible during this difficult time. Out of respect for the privacy of our guests, we cannot disclose further information at this time,” the statement said.