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Mystery Chiang Mai tourist deaths now international controversy

Mystery Chiang Mai tourist deaths now international controversy

After Thai authorities’ ‘coincidence’ verdict, revelations of a fifth mystery death in Chiang Mai are sparking an international controversy.

News of yet another unexplained foreign death in the popular tourist town emerged earlier this week, adding fuel to the flames of controversy surrounding the deaths of a Thai tour guide, a New Zealand girl and two British pensioners at the Downtown Inn hotel in the city centre.

American Miriam Soraya Vorster, 33, died 11 January, three weeks prior to the later deaths, allegedly after contracting food poisoning. Her symptoms were shockingly similar to those of Sarah Carter, the New Zealand girl whose death was initially blamed on ‘toxic seaweed’. According to Soraya’s husband, she died in the same manner as Sarah, with an autopsy carried out on 12 January. At present, no results have been released by the hospital.

The other four deaths took place within a two week period in adjacent rooms at the Downtown Inn, which is still open for business. Of the three New Zealand girls staying there, Sarah Carter died, her friend needed heart surgery and the third girlis only now recovering from the mystery illness. George and Eileen Everett were found dead in their room, with Thai authorities blaming simultaneous heart attacks.

The Chiang Mai provincial governor, speaking yesterday at a Bangkok press conference, said the deaths were ‘coincidence’. Relatives of the victims, however, are

angry, citing a cover-up and a lack of believable explanations from police or medical authorities. Stephen Everett, son of the pensioner couple, said his parents were in full health, with no history of medical problems, adding the run of deaths was ‘very suspicious’.

Sarah Carter’s father now has the assistance of the New Zealand government and is demanding the hotel, owned by an important Chiang Mai family, be closed immediately. He considers the press conference a ‘fob off’, stating there is no real investigation and adding other deaths may have been ‘swept under the carpet’. The British Embassy is awaiting results of tests on the Everetts and insists the case is not closed.

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