The family of a woman who drowned after drinking shots at an all-inclusive Mexican resort is seeking answers in her death.
And they’re not alone. Nearly a dozen families are struggling to understand how a loved one died or was injured after consuming alcohol while vacationing in Mexico, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Tourists to multiple upscale resorts in and around Cancun and Playa del Carmen say they believe they were drugged or served bootleg alcohol after small amounts of booze caused them to lose consciousness.
College student Abbey Conner was on a family vacation when she was found face down in a swimming pool at the Iberostar Hotel & Resorts’ Paraiso del Mar.
She had taken about five shots of tequila to celebrate the end of final exams, her brother Austin, who also nearly died, told the Journal Sentinel.
Abbey was brain dead and was ultimately taken off life support.
An attorney hired by Conner’s family visited the resort and found that “they serve alcoholic drinks with alcohol of bad quality and in great amounts, mixing different types of drinks,” the Journal Sentinel reported.
That could explain why so many people have reported feeling sick and blacking out after drinking at Iberostar, Secrets and Grand Oasis properties recently.
Victims were both young and old, male and female, and reported consuming different types of alcohol, including tequila, rum and beer.
Some said they had as few as one or two drinks before losing consciousness and waking up hours later with no memory of where they had been or what had happened to them.
In each case they said their reactions were unlike any other response they had ever had to alcohol, and described the experiences as “terrifying.”
Iberostar denied serving contaminated alcohol to its guests.
“We work with a host of providers not unique to IBEROSTAR who service other hotel chains and renowned brands,” it said in a statement to the Journal Sentinel. “Similarly, we only purchase sealed bottles that satisfy all standards required by the designated regulatory authorities.”
But the pattern of alcohol-related injuries and deaths suggests that it is tainted.
Maureen Webster’s 22-year-old son, Nolan, also died by drowning in the pool at a Mexican resort.
She said that Mexican resorts and authorities denied any agency in his death.
“Every time, every single time, something bad happens, they blame the victim,” she said. “They say, ‘They were drunk, they were drunk, they were drunk, they were drunk.’ Every single time.”
Witnesses testified that Nolan was not drunk at the Grand Oasis pool in Cancun when he died. A nurse signed a statement saying hotel staff forbade her from performing CPR on the man, who was breathing at the time.
Webster, who lives near Boston, sued and reached a settlement with the resort.
Other families’ accounts mirror the Conners’ and Websters’.
Kathy Daley, 53, lost consciousness after taking a single shot of tequila, and Nancy Mahowald Nelson, 57, reported waking up in bloody sheets after having just two drinks with lunch.
“It was really weird,” she said.