Backpacker Dies After Drinking 'Poison Gin'

Backpacker Dies After Drinking 'Poison Gin'

A British backpacker has died after apparently drinking poisoned gin during a trip around south-east Asia.

Cheznye Emmons, 23, suffered methanol poisoning after reportedly drinking from a bottle labelled gin.

The beauty therapist was said to have consumed the tainted liquid as she visited an orangutan sanctuary during a trek in the Indonesian jungle.

She was apparently on her way to a full-moon party but her health deteriorated quickly and she reportedly complained she had lost her sight.

Miss Emmons, from Great Wakering, Essex, went through the jungle to the nearest eye clinic and was referred to a hospital in Sumatra, where she was put in an induced coma.

Her parents then flew to her bedside and a few days later made the decision to turn off her life support machine.

Ms Emmons was said to have fallen ill after drinking from a bottle bought from a local shop in the popular tourist site of Bukit Lawang in northern Sumatra.

Two other travellers - reportedly her boyfriend Joe Cook, 21, and a male friend - also had health problems after consuming the drink.

Methanol, which is found in anti-freeze and varnish, is poisonous and causes kidney failure, blindness, seizures and death.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm the death of a British national in Indonesia and we are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time."

Michael Emmons, her older brother, was quoted in The Times as saying: "It just doesn't seem real - we're just all in shock.

"From what we understand, the shop would have poured the gin out of the original bottle and then replaced it with methanol.

"It was in the original bottle with the gin label on it (when they drank it).

"As far as we're aware, the shop which sold the alcohol has been shut down and there's a police investigation.

"The British Embassy is also looking into it. We just hope it doesn't get swept under the carpet."

Mr Cook said his girlfriend's death had left him "lost and empty". He wrote on Facebook: "I honestly don't know what to do any more."

Other tourists have reportedly fallen ill after mistakenly drinking alcohol containing methanol while in the country.

In January, a 19-year-old from Australia died after drinking a cocktail at a New Year's Eve party.

Last year, a New Zealand teenager was left blind after drinking methanol.

Indonesia has an alcohol tax of more than 200% on some products, which leads locals to brew their own home-made spirits.

Methanol is a by-product of poor distillation techniques.