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Maya Beach, where the film 'The Beach' was set, a key Phi Phi attraction

Phi Phi 'Poisoning' Kills Two Tourists

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Phuketwan Updating News

THE CAUSE of poisoning that killed two tourists on Phi Phi over the weekend is being investigated, the Governor of Krabi, Siwa Sirisaowalak, said today.

The tourists, both young women, were from the US and Norway. They had been staying at the same small local guesthouse.

A blog posted online by a companion who was travelling with one of the victims suggests that the air conditioning may have been the cause.

But a doctor on the island this afternoon said investigations were focussing on what the two women, and a third who survived, had had to drink.

Consumption of alcohol mixed with fruit juice was common to all three cases, the doctor said.

A Bangkok specialist epidemiologist is already on Phil Phi, seeking to find the reason behind the mysterious fatalities.

Thailand's top forensic scientist, Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand, is expected to be involved in autopsies to determine what killed the women.

A spokeswoman at Vachira Hospital on Phuket confirmed the bodies of two women had been received from Phi Phi and sent on to Bangkok for forensic tests.

A third tourist, a woman, aged 19, from Norway, was treated at Phi Phi Hospital and has been discharged.

Phuketwan has had conflicting reports about the precise circumstances of the deaths.

Police Lieutenant Pantanan Sangtong, who investigated the deaths, said the Norwegian woman died around 8am on Sunday at Phi Phi Hospital.

She had been staying with her boyfriend at a local guesthouse, the officer said.

On Monday, two Americans from the same guesthouse fell sick. One, a woman aged 26, died, Lieutenant Pantanan said.

Other reports said the American woman was the first to fall ill and die.

The Norwegian embassy in Bangkok confirmed that a Norwegian citizen had died.

The 23-year-old woman will have an autopsy performed to determine the precise cause of her death, along with the other woman victim.

It is understood all three victims because ill suddenly on Phi Phi at the weekend, at different times.

Dr Buncha Khakong, of the Public Health Department in Krabi, told Phuketwan that the first woman victim arrived at the hospital at 7.20am on Sunday.

She was vomiting, feeling weak and had low blood pressure, he said. By 8am, she was dead.

She told nurses that she had been vomiting since 7pm the previous evening, Dr Buncha said. The patient thought at first that her illness might be a hangover from a drinking session.

Dr Buncha said a rudimentary autopsy performed at Phi Phi Hospital showed no obvious cause of death.

The second woman presented at the hospital at 9.30pm on Sunday, having fallen ill at 9.30am. She was dead by 11pm, he said.

No autopsy was done on Phi Phi on the second woman. Both bodies were sent to Phuket together, he said.

A spokeswoman for Sea Angel ferries, one of several companies that ply between Phuket and Phi Phi, said today that tourist arrival and departure numbers were normal. reported that according to the Foreign Ministry in Oslo, Thai police has started an investigation into the cause of the death of the Norwegian woman.

Scandasia named the dead American woman as Jill St. Onge from Seattle, who was staying at the same guest house as the Norwegian woman, along with her boyfriend.

A spokeswoman at the American Embassy in Bangkok said this afternoon she could supply no information.

Phi Phi, part of Krabi province, is about an hour and 45 minutes by ferry from Thailand's main holiday island, Phuket.

It consists of two main islands and has recovered its popularity with backpackers since about 850 people died there during the 2004 tsunami.

The regular full moon parties on Phi Phi are notorious for drugs.

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


For Phuket Wan to claim that these are poisoning deaths is about as irresponsible reporting as possible. Did you get the autopsy report already that will take over a month to complete? ( btw, Adamant means to defend vigorously )

Posted by Media Watch on May 6, 2009 16:48


What's the name of the guest house?
A Norwegian man died last month

" We also know that a Norwegian (46) died in Phi Phi Islands for about a month ago. He was on honeymoon when he was suddenly ill. Also he may have been poisoned. "

and wasn't a foreigner's body pulled out of the water 5 days ago?

Posted by Wake up on May 6, 2009 17:27


"Police Lieutenant Pantanan Sangtong, who investigated the deaths, said the Norwegian woman died around 8am on Sunday at Phi Phi Hospital.

She had been staying with her boyfriend at a local guesthouse, the officer said."

If you read the Norwegian newspapers they say they were 2 female students 19 and 22 years staying together. No mention of any boyfriend.

Editor: That's why we report that there are conflicting accounts. Much still needs to be confirmed.

Posted by Tim on May 6, 2009 19:20


Regarding the Norwegian man a month ago...

The death of the 46-year-old Norwegian man a month ago was not natural, and they have asked for an autopsy. From the Norwegian embassy - We can confirm that a 46-year-old died on Phi Phi in April, but we are awaiting the autopsy report. Depending on the result the police will decide if the death should be investigated, "said press spokesman Anders Correct.

Posted by Tim on May 6, 2009 19:25


I've been in contact with Robert (Jills' brother) by email. He says she and Ryan were staying in a bungalow called Laleene.

Posted by Rex on May 6, 2009 19:30


I was Jills fiancee. For a doctor to say that she was drinking was ridiculous. Jill had been Ill since the afternoon. How could she have told nurse anything. She was unconcious by the time I got her to the hospital. This article makes me irate. There is a water treatment plant right next to the guesthouse. How coincidental for 3 people to have the same symptoms, 2 die and 1 in ICU. We stayed right next door to the Norwegian girls. There is a chemical that killed two girls and almost one more. I cant even begin to believe that this doctor would lie about jills case. Let me repeat. Jill had no alcohol that night. It had nothing to do with a hangover. I can not believe that anyone would make up such a lie.

Posted by ryan kells on May 6, 2009 22:33


I think the bungalow is called leleena and the couple Ryan Kells and Jill St. Onge stayed in Room 4. The Norweigans were both girls. And it was Jill who first died while Ryan who also suffered a similar case survived. 24 hours or maybe earlier, a norwegian girl died.

Posted by D on May 6, 2009 23:21


You might want to hold off on the drinking and drug references until you know more. Also, this article is poorly written.

Posted by on May 7, 2009 01:24


The facts of the 27 year old American, Jill St. Onge's death are documented here:

Posted by Anonymous on May 7, 2009 02:08


I am appalled at the manner in which the women, two of them dead, are essentially blamed for participating in their own demise by the doctor suggesting (and the reporter reporting) that alcohol was a common thread and that the women had been drinking. In addition to this being false (as per Jill's fiancee, who commented), it is inflammatory and a clear effort to steer attention away from the location and environment in which these people were made ill.

Posted by JP on May 7, 2009 05:48


The regular full moon parties on Phi Phi are notorious for drugs. And Phuket Wan is notorious for gratuitous sensationalism. Please, can we just stick to the story at hand?

Posted by matt on May 7, 2009 07:06


Mmmm, tourists drinking fruit juice and alcohol a common denominator? C'mon Thailand you can do better than that.
So, if possibly there's a water plant emitting dangerous substances at a tourist destination, the Thai response is,
"Quick , look over there!"

Posted by Kim Elroy on May 7, 2009 08:53


"A spokeswoman for Sea Angel ferries, one of several companies that ply between Phuket and Phi Phi, said today that tourist arrival and departure numbers were normal."
Nice to know that the most important factor - tourism isn't affected, YET.

Posted by MediaWatch on May 7, 2009 09:12


The guesthouse where they stayed was Laleena Guesthouse, see here:
To note, so far it is not conclusive that staying at this particular hotel was not just a coincidence, as police mentioned that they also ate at the same place.

Posted by jts on May 7, 2009 10:14


My heart goes out to the families of the victims in these cases. The bias and assumptions of the scientific community in this article are repulsive.

Posted by mlc on May 8, 2009 09:29


"Anonymous", on May 7th stating that "The facts of the 27 year old American, Jill St. Onge's death are documented [on a blog]" is incorrect. Anything posted on it is not necessarily a fact. Rather, it is an opinion. Just because one writes something does not make it a fact. Blogs are notorious for presenting opinion, thoughts and hearsay as "fact". Far too many people are jumping far too quickly to far too many conclusions. The trend of opinion (from reading the above views) appears to be that the Thai authorities are colluding to cover something up and to blame people, suggesting - Lord help us - another Phuket/Thailand "conspiracy theory" giving people with too much time on their hands a reason to opine on subjects about which they know precisely b*gger all. Have opinions, but don't consider them fact.

Posted by Colin Pearson on May 8, 2009 15:30


This article is offensive and factually inaccurate. I can't believe the editors allowed this to get published, it is irresponsible.

Posted by tk on May 9, 2009 04:11


Ryan- hang in there. Please accept my condolensces. Take care . . .

Posted by JW on May 9, 2009 06:47


Well Colin Pearson, considering the information on the blog was provided by Jill's fiancee, who was with her on Koh Phi Phi at the time, I tend to take his account over anything else. I'm sure there was not conspiracy involving the bodies in containers sunk in the Gulf of Thailand either. Nor anything else that happens around here. So far nothing else reported makes much sense at all.

Posted by Johnny Farang on May 9, 2009 08:41


Johnny Farang, you've been in the sun a touch too long, old chum.

Posted by Colin Pearson on May 9, 2009 15:29


has anyone looked into pesticide poisoning either in the room or on the fruit?

Posted by judy on May 12, 2009 13:34


Ryan, there's nothing anyone can say to ease your loss but please accept my deepest condolences.

As for everyone else ... Get a grip of the underlying issue - TOURISM! The Thai Authorities are useless and quite frankly couldn't care less what happens to any foreigner living or visiting their country. The scenery is stunning but the place is a dump. Garbage everywhere, nothing is clean, streets and roads unsafe, this list goes on.

Posted by Noddy on May 12, 2009 14:30


I just heard about Jill St. Onge's death last week. I suspect the air conditioning unit . If the unit is leaking chemical and the guest house is using chlorine to clean the system, the combination could be deadly. I hope the cause is forthcoming soon so her family can at least know why they lost someone very special to them. vl

Posted by Anonymous on June 25, 2009 06:04


it's extremely irresponsible of you to end your little news item by indirectly suggesting that drugs were the cause. full moon parties are on an entirely different part of the island. you should be ashamed of yourself.

Editor: Rubbish. It's a small island and it's well known that many people abuse drugs and alcohol there regularly. The cause of the deaths remains unknown It's you who are speculating, not us. We are not ashamed. But you should be.

Posted by joe blow on July 21, 2009 14:11


full moon parties? alcohol and fruit juice? food poisoning? the woman's lungs were completely destroyed. your site should taken off the web. shame on you for suggesting these girls were responsible for thier own demise. outrageous unacceptable and TYPICAL THAILAND.

Editor: Horses.

Posted by aross on July 21, 2009 14:20


r there any Thai ppl who die from this food as well?

Posted by Lindz on September 2, 2012 22:11

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