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Foreign Water To Blame For Deaths In The Dominican Republic, Says Hard Rock Resort Chairman

By Danielle Dorsey

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In an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen dismissed the possibility of poisoning in the sudden deaths of 11 American tourists in the Dominican Republic, claiming “different water” was to blame.

When questioned about the role illegal alcohol might have played in these fatalities, Allen said, “I think it’s frankly part of today’s media cycle. The reality is that when people travel abroad people get sick simply many times by just drinking water that’s different here than what we are used to in the United States. There have been seven deaths over the last year and a half and certainly, they will be investigated. We have to wait for the Dominican to come back with specifics on all of those unfortunate passings.”

At least 11 American travelers have died while visiting the Dominican Republic over the last year, and eight of those deaths occurred in the last three months. Many of the victims reportedly drank alcohol from hotel bars or restaurants prior to their deaths, prompting police to investigate whether counterfeit alcohol is the cause. The Dominican government insists that the deaths are not connected, but increased scrutiny has pushed some airlines to offer waivers for passengers who want to cancel flights to the island.

More than a dozen tourists have come forward since the deaths were reported, claiming they became dangerously ill after consuming liquor from the minibars in their hotel rooms. Forensic scientist Lawrence Kobilinsky told The Cut that the victims’ shared symptoms “consistent with poisoning,” and that methanol, a common ingredient in bootleg alcohol, may have been used. Vox noted that, “consuming even a small amount of pure methanol can lead to pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs, and respiratory distress.”

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