A young Texas couple died of a mysterious illness after vacationing in Fiji, an island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, their families have said.
The families of David and Michelle Paul said they couldn’t believe it when authorities in Fiji called them, saying the two suddenly died, ABC News reported on June 4.
It’s not clear how the couple died. Tracey Calanog, a family member, said that they got the phone call a day before the two were slated to leave for home.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 4, 2019
The Fiji Broadcast Corporation reported that the two Americans died in the city of Nadi.
“For more than a week, the U.S. Embassy has been closely working with the Fiji government, police, and health officials in their investigation into the tragic deaths of two U.S. citizens while on holiday in Fiji,” Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Becca Archer-Knepper, said in a statement to People magazine.
She added: “The Embassy has facilitated contact between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Fiji’s Ministry of Health to ascertain the causes of death and to assist in any related measures. We appreciate the efforts made thus far by the Fijian authorities and stand ready to provide further assistance, if requested. At this point, we are not aware of any specific public-health threat to the community.”
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. We are closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation into the cause of death,” a State Department spokesperson told ABC. “We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”
“We appreciate the efforts made thus far by the Fijian authorities and stand ready to provide further assistance, if requested,” the U.S. Embassy in Fiji told CBS News.
Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services said it is working with police, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the causes of death for the pair, the Fiji Broadcast Corporation reported.
Speaking to WFAA, Calanog suggested that couple might have been stricken with an unknown virus.
“They knew something was going on in their body and were able to get to the hospital,” Calanog told the local Texas station. The report said that Michelle Paul may have died first before her husband.
The family said that hospital workers were trying to take David Paul to an Australian hospital, but he died.
WFAA reported that the couple had a 2-year-old son, and David Paul had a daughter.
In the wake of their deaths, Calanog told KVUE the couple’s bodies will remain on the island until it is determined that the illness is not infectious. If it is, she said their bodies will have to be cremated.