Philly Couple Who Became Ill at Resort Where 3 Americans Died: ‘I Noticed a Smell’

A person has a drink at Dominicus beach in Bayahibe, La Altagracia province, Dominican Republic, on July 21, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Erika SANTELICES (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images

A Philadelphia couple who claimed they became violently ill at a Dominican Republic resort where three Americans died over the weekend said they noticed something was amiss during their stay last year.

Doug Hand and his wife, Susie Lauterborn, took their vacation at the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel from June 14 to June 19 in 2018 when they fell violently ill, CBS Philadelphia reported.

The couple, who hailed from South Philadelphia, said they felt ill but brushed their symptoms off as food poisoning. The resort’s doctor gave Lauterborn some pills, but did not issue a diagnosis.

Hand said he noticed an odd smell in his room.

“Like as soon as we got to the room, I noticed a smell. It smelled like a moldy, mildewy dirty air. My wife didn’t smell it but I like picked up on it right away. She started getting symptoms about a day-and-a-half, two days in,” Hand said.

The death toll is on the rise at several Dominican Republic resorts, including the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel, after several Americans suddenly died from a mysterious respiratory illness.

Multiple news outlets recently publicized the deaths of three American tourists at the Bahia Principe, causing law enforcement officials to investigate the deaths further.

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