Pattaya Daily News

30 July 2008 :: 13:07:14 pm 29047

17 Partying Fishermen, Mostly Thai, Die Of Alcohol Poisoning In Indonesia

In Merauke, Eastern Indonesia, 17 fishermen, 16 of them Thai, died of suspected alcohol poisoning on July 29, 2008. They were part of a group of 200 who had come for a party that docked in the port on Friday. Police are still investigating the cause of the deaths.
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Merauke is a popular fishing port in the Papua province of Indonesia and one much frequented by Thai fisherman, with many Thai fishing boats currently tied up in the port. With fishermen’s proclivity for celebrating successful catches by going on drinking binges, it is no surprise that the Thai fishermen should have followed suit on Sunday night, especially as they were celebrating a party.

However, the alcohol they drank is a local concoction thought to be sopi, made of coconut oil and methylated alcohol and other ingredients, and, not surprisingly, in some cases can be lethal.

The 17 victims were taken to Merauke Public Hospital, according to an ER nurse by the name of Kasim, complaining of severe stomach pains on Sunday night. Another hospital spokesman, Benyamin Simatupang said that the first death occurred on Sunday and the death toll has been steadily climbing ever since. In addition to the fishermen, by Tuesday, there were another 90 patients in the same hospital apparently suffering similar symptoms, likely caused by the same tainted alcohol. They, too, are in a bad way. Port officials in Merauke said police were still investigating the cause of the illnesses and deaths, while Thai embassy staff are checking to see if all the supposed Thais were, in fact, bona fide nationals.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : World News

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