A Colorado man is dead after falling ill on a recent trip to the Dominican Republic, becoming the 11th American tourist to die in the country since last year.
Khalid Adkins of Denver traveled to the island nation with his daughter last week when he suddenly became sick, FOX31 Denver reported. Adkins’ daughter had already returned to the U.S. when her father fell ill during a flight back to the States on Sunday.
The man’s sister-in-law, Marla Strick, said Adkins was vomiting and became so unwell that he was forced to disembark the plane. At the time, Strick said doctors told Adkins’ family his breathing had gotten “really bad” and that his kidneys were failing.
“He said his leg started to swell, and that’s why he couldn’t get up,” Strick told the station. “And he started sweating and vomiting. He is just yelling and in pain, so he couldn’t talk to me.”
Adkins was later hospitalized in the nation’s capitol of Santo Domingo.
According to FOX31, family members said they had trouble communicating with hospital staff, and were still unsure of Adkins’ diagnosis until Tuesday. Doctors told the family they could try to locate dialysis in Santo Domingo or fly Adkins back to the U.S. for treatment via air ambulance — a pricey flight estimated to cost $20,000.
The family has since launched a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Adkins’ body to be returned to the U.S.
“I am at a loss for words,” an update posted to the campaign read. “We have no explanation of what happened; all they will say is he got sick!!! We need to get his body home anything helps please!! We really want to know what happened!”
The page was created Tuesday and has since exceeded its $20,000 goal.
Adkins’ demise comes amid a spate of mysterious deaths of U.S. tourists who visited the country in the past year, sparking fear and concern among travelers looking to visit the popular tourist destination.
Last month, Maryland couple Cynthia Day and Edward Holmes were found dead inside their hotel room at an all-inclusive Dominican resort after suffering what an autopsy concluded to be “respiratory failure.” A Pennsylvania woman, Miranda Schaup-Werner, suffered a similar fate just five days earlier while vacationing with her husband.
Schaumburg-Werner fell ill and died after having a drink from the hotel room’s minibar, according to family members. She too had suffered respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, according to an autopsy report.
The FBI is now investigating, but Dominican officials insist the deaths are isolated incidents and that their island is safe. Last week, an official with the country’s public health ministry slammed media reports of the deaths as “fake news” aimed at hurting tourism to the DR.
“It’s all a hysteria against the Dominican Republic, to hurt our tourism; this is a very competitive industry and we get millions of tourists,” Carlos Suero told Fox News, adding: “People die all over the world. Now people make a big deal over these.”
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