The New Zealand Herald is reporting that a dream Overseas Experience has turned to tragedy for three young New Zealand women after food poisoning killed one and left the other two in hospital.
Sarah Carter, 23, died on Sunday, reportedly after eating a seaweed delicacy at a market in Chiang Mai, Thailand – just hours before her mother could get to her bedside.
Her friends Amanda Eliason and Emma Langlands, both 23, also suffered food poisoning and were last night still in Chiang Mai Ram Hospital.
Amanda remained in the intensive care unit while Emma was yesterday moved into her own room and was now eating.
"We’ve just been on a rollercoaster from hell," Emma’s father, Richard, said last night. "Three of them went over, but one’s not coming back. It’s just horrific. These girls are so beautiful, professional and sensible. It’s a terrible, terrible tragedy.
"I just can’t understand how this happened … they’re all such amazing, hugely intelligent girls."
The three friends – who were on their OE after finishing their studies at Wellington’s Victoria University – were rushed to hospital last Friday when they became ill after eating what is thought to have been toxic seaweed.
Two days later, Sarah was dead.
Yesterday her father, Richard Carter of Auckland, told a news website that his daughter had "touched the hearts of everyone she knew."
* There are several types of edible seaweed used in many countries.
* The high iodine content can produce iodine toxicity if large amounts are consumed.
* Rotting seaweed is also a potent source of hydrogen sulfide, a highly toxic gas which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, but is rarely fatal.
* Most edible seaweed is marine algae – most freshwater algae is toxic.While marine algae is not generally toxic, some do contain acids that irritate the digestion canal, while others can have a laxative effect.
* Is a staple food in most parts of Asia and is used in soups, salads and as a side dish.
* Recognised in many Western countries, as being used in sushi and in spirulina.